Skip to main content

Full text of "The log of a timber cruiser"

See other formats

University  of  California  •  Berkeley 















Public  knowledge  of  the  reasons  for  the  existence 
of  the  United  States  Forest  Service  is  fairly  wide- 
spread and  accurate.  Conservation — the  intelli- 
gent use  and  development  of  the  resources  of  our 
National  Forests,  has  worked  its  way  into  the  list 
of  the  Nation's  permanent  policies.  But  while  most 
people  are  agreed  as  to  the  desirability  of  the  work 
the  Forest  Service  is  doing  and  know  in  a  general 
way  what  that  work  is,  there  exists  a  surprising  lack 
of  information  as  to  the  actual  life  and  day-to-day 
duties  of  Service  field  men :  Supervisors  and  For- 
est Assistants,  Eangers  and  Guards. 

"The  Log  of  a  Timber  Cruiser "  is  in  part  an 
attempt  to  furnish  such  information — at  least  in  one 
phase  of  Forest  Service  activity — by  detailing  the 
incidents  of  a  six  months'  field  assignment  in  the 
mountains  of  southern  New  Mexico.  If,  in  addition, 
the  reading  of  this  account  provides  half  the  enter- 
tainment which  the  recording  of  the  events  as  they 
occurred  brought,  I  shall  feel  very  much  more  than 

Grateful  acknowledgment  is  due  Mr.  Gifford 
Pinchot,  the  former  Forester;  Mr.  Herbert  A.  Smith, 
Editor  of  the  Forest  Service;  Mr.  Bristow  Adams, 


of  the  Washington  Office;  Mr.  Arthur  C.  Ringlandj 
District  Forester  of  the  Southwest;  and  Mr.  Don 
P.  Johnson,  Supervisor  of  the  Gila  National  Forest, 
for  their  careful  examination  of  the  manuscript  and 
for  their  many  suggestions  to  which  in  no  small 
measure  whatever  of  merit  the  story  possesses  must 
be  attributed. 

Eeaders  of  the  manuscript  have  suggested  that 
a  number  of  terms  used,  while  common  enough 
in  the  locality  where  the  story  is  set  or  in  Forest 
Service  circles,  may  not  be  familiar  to  the  general 
reader.  To  obviate  this  difficulty  without  stopping 
in  every  case  during  the  action  of  the  log  to  explain 
such  expressions  a  brief  glossary  is  appended  which 
defines  those  words  and  phrases  that  seem  most 
to  want  defining.  I  think  that's  all — except  the 

W.  P.  L. 

New  York  City, 




II  GETTING  STARTED    ......     .     .      9 

III  THE  FIRST  DAY'S  WORK  ......     15 

IV  SAWYER'S  PEAK      ........     27 

Y  CRUISING       ..........     33 

YI  MOAK'S  ADVENTURE     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     43 

VII  HORACE  HAS  AN  ADVENTURE        .     .     .     .     48 

iVIII  AROUND  THE  FIRE  .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .54 

IX  EWING'S  STORY       .........     58 

X  A  RECORD  RUN       .     .     y    >     .     •.     .     .     66 

XI  PHOBY-CATS  .     ..>•••     -.     .     .     v     .     .     72 

XII  ROUNDING  THE  SOUTH  END   .    y    >•     .     .     78 

XIII  FIRE ...;..     .     .     86 

XIV  THE  RAINY  SEASON     .     .     >:    w     .     .     .    93 
XV  BERT  SEES  THINGS       .     .     ;.     y    v     .     .  101 

XVI  HORACE  TAKES  A  STAND   .     .     >:    -.«     .     .  107 

XVII  THE  ANIMAS.     .     .     .     .     r.,    :.     .     .     .  116 

XVIII  WORKING  THE  ANIMAS      .    >     .    -.     .     .  123 

XIX  RATTLERS      .     .     .     .-     .     .     >     y     .-     .  130 

XX  ON  TOP  AGAIN  ....     .     .     .     .     .  137 

XXI  THE  END  OF  EWING'S  STORY      .     .    >     .  144 

XXII  OLD  MAN  REED       ........  150 

XXIII  HORACE  "COMES  BACK"  .     -.     .     .     .     .  156 







XXVIII    THE  LAST  CAMP     .........  190 

XXIX    FINIS       ......     .     .  197 

GLOSSARY      .     .     .    ^    .    ..,  .  205 


The  Cliffs  on  Morgan  Creek    .     .     .     .     .     Frontispiece 


rThe  Author 

The  Cruisers- 

Bob  Moak,  the  Veteran 

At  Work  in  the  Field  J 

Frazer,  the  Chief  .......       4 

The  Cruiser  Climbs  High  Peaks 10 

Or  Descends  Into  Yawning  Canyons 10 

What  the  cruiser  faces  when  setting  out  on  a  run  .     .     18 
This  rugged  region  in  the  Black  Range  though  bare  of 
trees  on  top,  was  cruised  to  catch  timber  in  the  can- 
yons and  for  map  work 18 

Sample  Plot  Work 22 

Easy  Going  for  the  Baseline  Crew 22 

("Brown  Setting  a  Cruiser's  Sta- 

Conway  and  Stadia 
[Frazer  Cruising  ....     .     24 
fin  Dense  Cover 
The  Cruiser  at  Work  J"  Shall  I  Off  set  ?" 

[Scaling  Cliffs  .     .     .     -.     .     .     30 

Lunch  Time 38 

A  Typical  Eock  Slide  ...........     46 

What  the  Cruiser  Dreads .     50 

The  "  Woodland  Type"  of  Timber    ......     60 

On  the  Slope  of  the  Main  Ridge 68 

A  Trail  Through  the  Cliffs 
The  Jumping  Off  Place    ....     74 
In  moving  from  Donahue's  Canyon  we  drove  the  bur- 
ros along  an  almost  invisible  trail    ...    ...    ^    k..    ^    78 

Perils  of  the  Way  <  \ 



A  halt  for  repairs.    One  of  the  packs  slipped  here  and 

held  up  the  whole  procession 78 

Fire  guard  Reid  on  his  look-out  tower  on  Hillsboro 

Peak 82 

"When  we  arrived  the  fire  was  climbing  to  the  top"  82 

The  approach  of  the  fire    ...     .     .     .     .     .     >  86 

Fire  in  the  brush 86 

"When  the  fire  at  length  rose  above  the  ridge,  we  were 

ready" 90 

Creek  Canyon 

^^     ,          .  98 

Lumbering  at  O'Brien's     .........  104 

McKnight  Canyon 110 

Over  the  McKnight- Animas  Divide 118 

Whitey  in  deep  trouble         118 

In  the  Animas  country 124 

Black  River 134 

Evening  on  the  range 142 

The  northern  limit  of  our  work 150 

"Old  Man  Reed's  Place" 154 

Panorama  of  range  near  the  head  of  Diamond  Creek  .  158 
At  the  source  of  Black  River,  where  the  Continental 

Divide  crosses 158 

Moving-day 164 

First  camp  on  Diamond  Creek     .     .     . .    A    >.     .     .  164 

The  Diamond  Bar  Range  ..........  172 

Preparing  for  the  party     .........  180 

Washing  day 180 

The  last  move -.-     .     .     .  192 

View  at  evening  from  the  last  camp  in  the  Black  Range  200 

Typical  cruising  country  in  the  higher  levels    .     .     .  200 




I  WAS  under  appointment  as  Forest  Guard  on  the 
Gila  National  Forest  when  the  opportunity  to  take 
up  reconnaissance  work  came.  The  Supervisor's 
letter  was  brief.  It  ran  as  follows: 

"We  can  use  another  man  on  the  Gila  Cruising  party 
which  will  work  the  Black  Range  this  summer;  would  you 
like  the  assignment?  If  so,  report  to  "Walter  C.  Frazer, 
Chief  of  Party,  at  Silver  City,  not  later  than  May  1.  You 
will  receive  your  present  salary  of  $900  per  annum  with 
expenses  while  in  the  field.  The  work,  it  is  expected,  will 
last  about  six  months. 

"You  are  perfectly  free  to  accept  or  decline  the  offer  of 
this  position.  I  will  say,  however,  that  unless  you  are 
opposed  for  personal  reasons  to  tackling  reconnaissance,  the 
present  chance  to  learn  the  methods  of  this  branch  of  silvi- 
culture is  an  excellent  one. ' ' 

Though  somewhat  flattered  by  the  offer,  my  first 
impulse  was  to  decline  it.  I  had  heard  much  of 
reconnaissance — the  cruising  of  timbered  areas  and 
the  topographical  mapping  of  regions  usually  wild 


*      > 

and  mountainous,  often  unsurveyed1  and  well-nigli 

inaccessible.  I  knew  by  hearsay  that  the  work 
was  the  most  trying,  physically,  of  any  in  the  Forest 
Service;  that  only  the  hardiest  might  hope  to  suc- 
cessfully undergo  the  ordeal  set  the  cruiser.  It 
meant,  I  was  aware,  living  for  months  on  end  in 
camps,  a  tent  for  home  and  the  ground  a  constant 
couch.  ^.  It  meant  toiling  daily  over  brush-covered 
hills,  across  malpais-strewn  mesas,  through  tangled 
thickets  of  woven  thorns  and  fallen  aspen,  over  jut- 
ting peaks  or  down  into  treacherous  canyons  with 
sides  of  sheer  granite  or  sliding  shale.  Day  in  and 
day  out,  I  knew,  one  made  his  "run"  under  a  blind- 
ing summer  sun,  or  in  rain  or  hail  or  snow,  follow- 
ing the  finger  of  the  compass  wherever  it  might  lead. 
Yet  I  had  learned  also  of  the  intense  fascina- 
tion the  experience  held  for  those  who  made  good 
and  stuck.  The  very  difficulties,  the  obstacles  that 
arose  each  day  in  varied  guise,  once  they  came  to 
be  looked  upon  as  part  of  the  game,  seemed  but  to 
whet  the  appetite  of  the  cruiser  for  successful  per- 
formance. The  wholesome  life  in  the  open,  too, 
eventually  hammered  the  members  of  a  party  into  a 
buoyant  fitness  that  was  good  to  contemplate.  And 
then  the  financial  phase  was  attractive.  I  had  been 
making  both  ends  just  about  meet  on  the  ranger  dis- 
trict where  I  was  stationed.  There  would  be  no 
chance  for  a  higher  salary  until  fall  brought  the 
Civil  Service  examination  for  Assistant  Forest 
Ranger.  By  contrast,  the  certainty  of  six  months' 


work  with  practically  no  expenses,  looked  good, — if 
I  could  hold  down  the  job.  As  for  that,  I  felt 
sure  that  Frazer,  whom  I  knew  well,  was  respon- 
sible for  this  opportunity  to  join  his  party  and  I 
reflected  that  certainly  he  would  not  have  suggested 
it  unless  he  considered  me  capable  of  doing  the  work. 
The  upshot  was  that  a  prompt  acceptance,  instead 
of  the  refusal  at  first  contemplated,  went  to  the  Su- 
pervisor. Two  weeks  later,  on  the  last  day  of  April, 
I  reached  Silver  City  and  reported  for  duty. 

The  others  of  the  party,  with  a  single  exception, 
were  already  assembled,  gathered  together  from  the 
four  quarters  of  the  Forest  Service  world. 

There  was  first  of  all  Frazer,  the  Chief  of  Party. 
He  was  a  deceptively  delicate  looking  youth  with 
a  slender  frame  that  held  the  strength  and  tough- 
ness of  steel  wire,  and  an  ingenuous,  boyish  face 
which  belied  his  lifelong  experience  in  the  open 
West,  among  men  of  all  sorts  and  conditions,  in 
circumstances  of  ever-varying  colour.  Five  years' 
work  in  the  Forest  Service  had  won  for  him  the 
reputation  of  being  one  of  the  best  field  men  in  the 

There  was  Wallace,  a  Forest  Assistant  fresh  from 
Yale,  with  a  plethora  of  theories  and  no  experience 
to  speak  of.  Fortunately,  however — unlike  some  of 
his  fellow  technical  men,  just  graduated — he  realised 
that  his  education  was  not  entirely  complete,  that 
there  are  some  facts  in  the  science  of  forestry  which 
can  be  learned  better  by  actual  timber  work  than 


from  books.  And  we  were  to  find  that  he  possessed 
a  capacity  for  work  and  a  guileless  sincerity  that 
endeared  him  before  long  to  every  one. 

There  was  Bob  Moak,  a  veteran  timber  cruiser, 
whose  twenty-eight  years  spent  in  the  woods  among 
lumber  camps  from  Maine  to  Oregon  had  made  of 
him  a  veritable  giant  of  a  man,  long-limbed  and 
heavy-shouldered,  taciturn  and  reserved,  slow  of 
thought  and  speech,  but  mighty  in  action.  He  knew 
the  look  of  good  timber  better  than  his  own  fea- 
tures, and  though  the  touch  of  Time  showed  in  his 
bowed  shoulders  and  grizzled  hair,  his  experience 
and  woodsmanship  made  him  still  a  most  valuable 
man  for  the  party. 

There  was  Conway,  a  former  college  athlete,  now 
a  Forest  Guard,  and  like  myself,  new  to  reconnais- 
sance, but  with  a  spare  and  sinewy  build  which 
augured  agility  and  endurance. 

There  was  Bert  Gilbert,  the  noted  camp  cook, 
famous  throughout  New  Mexico  and  Arizona  for 
his  flapjacks  and  "  slumgullion. ' '  He  had  just  ar- 
rived from  Flagstaff  with  a  gunnysack  of  personal 
effects  and  a  soul-gratifying  "hangover"  from  a 
recent  dalliance  with  the  Demon  Rum.  Bert,  sad  to 
relate,  was  of  that  amiable  type  which  finds  in  the 
lure  of  a  social  glass  with  friends,  and  the  diver- 
sions of  the  city,  temptations  not  to  be  resisted. 
The  desire  to  escape  from  the  burden  of  this  "good 
fellowship"  and  so  far  as  might  be  from  his  own 
weakness,  had  first  launched  the  cook,  some  years 


a!  « 

W  g 


before,  upon  the  practice  of  his  profession.  His 
continuation  in  that  career  was  undoubtedly  due 
to  periodic  lapses  from  sobriety  whenever  the  out- 
fit with  which  he  happened  to  be  working  landed  in 

It  was  from  one  of  these  benders  that  Bert  was 
just  now  emerging,  with  shattered  nerves  and  an 
intense  desire  for  the  simple  life.  As  is  customary 
and  appropriate  in  such  circumstances,  he  earnestly 
proclaimed  it  his  intention  to  turn  over  a  new  leaf 
and  make  our  trip  a  turning  point,  to  use  the  op- 
portunity afforded  by  a  lengthy  sojourn  in  the  for- 
est, far  from  the  insidious  highball  and  the  ruinous 
rattle  of  chips,  to  strengthen  his  purpose  of  forever- 
more  eschewing  liquor  and  its  evil  cortege  of  kindred 
vices.  In  his  case,  I'm  glad  to  say,  the  threat  of 
reformation  was  not  altogether  an  empty  one  al- 
though, as  will  appear,  there  intervened  between  its 
inception  and  its  fulfilment  certain  circumstances  of 
a  rather  exciting  nature  which  gave  to  Bert's  de- 
cision a  virtue  of  permanence  it  might  not  otherwise 
have  held. 

The  one  missing  member  of  the  party,  Horace 
Wetherby,  was  due  to  arrive  on  the  noon  train.  We 
all  went  down  to  meet  him.  All,  that  is,  save  Bert, 
who  decided  to  woo  solitude  and  a  new  outlook  in 
his  room  at  the  Orient  Hotel. 

We  were  curious  to  see  what  Horace  was  like. 
It  is  only  natural  to  feel  some  anxiety  about  the 
personnel  of  a  group  in  which  one  expects  to  live 


and  work  half  a  year,  to  wish  to  find  out  as  quickly 
as  possible  what  each  co-worker  and  companion  is 
like,  whether  he  is  to  be  looked  upon  as  a  "good 
fellow"  or  a  "grouch,"  a  blessing  or  a  pest.  No 
one  knew  much  of  Horace  or  his  antecedents. 
Frazer  had,  it  is  true,  heard  in  a  roundabout  way 
that  the  new  man  was  experienced  in  cruising.  But 
in  the  matter  of  his  personality  we  were  wholly 

The  train  drew  in  on  time,  a  rare  enough  phenom- 
enon, and  we  watched  the  passengers  eagerly.  Two 
cowpunchers  got  off  first.  They  had  evidently  been 
to  the  city — Albuquerque  or  El  Paso,  most  likely 
— and  were  dressed  in  gala  attire.  Everything  one 
wore  was  duplicated  by  the  other;  they  were  alike 
as  a  pair  of  spurs.  Each,  perhaps,  had  feared  to 
draw  upon  himself  the  ridicule  of  the  other  by  dis- 
playing any  unique  detail  of  town-bought  finery. 
Grinning  sheepishly,  they  greeted  a  solemn  group 
of  friends  with  formality  and  shook  hands  all  round 
in  angular,  pump-handle  fashion.  The  new  black 
Stetsons,  red  neckties  and  polished  boots  seemed  to 
impart  to  their  friends  as  well  as  to  themselves  an 
uneasy  self-consciousness,  and  by  common  consent 
the  crowd  headed  almost  at  once  for  the  nearest 
bar,  to  dissolve  in  drink  the  uncomfortable  stiffness 
of  the  reunion. 

John  Ferguson,  a  cowman,  back  from  a  month's 
business  trip,  waved  to  us  as  he  hastened  toward 
his  wife,  who  sat  behind  a  team  of  restive  po- 


nies,  welcoming  her  husband  with   shining   eyes. 

Three  bored-looking  travelling  men  of  widely  dis- 
parate ages  were  alike  only  in  that  they  wore  derby 
hats  and  walked  with  one  accord  quickly  and  un- 
hesitatingly toward  the  stage  where  Big  Sam,  the 
negro  driver,  obviously  enjoying  the  brief  but  legit- 
imate conspicuousness  of  his  position,  rubbed  his 
hands  together  and  shouted  at  the  top  of  his  lungs : 

"All  abo'd  fo'  d'  Palace — Palace  Hotel  dis-a-wa- 

Last  to  descend,  a  tall  well-built  youth  with  a  suit 
case  in  one  hand  and  a  kit  bag  in  the  other,  stepped 
off  the  train  and  gazed  leisurely  about  him.  As 
he  caught  sight  of  our  party  he  set  his  baggage  on 
the  platform  and  awaited  our  approach  with  great 
composure.  His  air  was  assured,  complacent  even. 
It  took  no  psychologist  to  divine  that  Horace  was 
thoroughly  at  home  with  himself. 

"The  Forest  Service  boys,  I  presume,"  he  ob- 
served genially,  as  we  came  up.  "I  knew  you  in  a 
minute,  and  I  am  more  than  glad  to  meet  you  all." 

The  newcomer  was  not  bashful,  that  was  a  cinch. 
And  if  his  manner  had  not  indicated  as  much  at 
once,  the  fact  would  have  become  indubitably  ap- 
parent during  the  afternoon  and  evening  of  that 
first  day.  His  conversation  made  that  certain.  He 
enlightened  us  at  length  in  regard  to  himself  and  his 
experiences  in  the  West.  We  were  curious,  as  I 
have  said,  to  learn  something  of  Horace.  By  night 
we  knew  all  there  was  to  be  known. 


He  had  never  worked  before  in  the  Forest  Serv- 
ice ;  but  while  he  did  not  state  this  in  so  many  words 
we  gathered  from  his  confidences  that  he  was  not 
only  letter  perfect,  so  to  speak,  in  the  role  of  cruiser, 
but  that  anything  relative  to  woods  work  or  camp 
life  with  which  he  was  unfamiliar  would  have  to  be 
a  very  rare,  abstruse,  and  unimportant  something 

I  don't  mean  to  suggest  that  Wetherby  boasted. 
He  was  perfectly  sincere.  He  just  gave  us  the  facts 
about  himself  as  he  saw  them,  in  all  good  faith,  and 
while  Bert  and  Bob  Moak  considered  his  utter  lack 
of  reticence  on  the  subject  of  his  own  history  actu- 
ally unethical,  and  had  no  use  for  him  from  that 
time  forth,  the  rest  of  us  were  considerably  im- 
pressed by  his  revelations. 

Frazer,  in  particular,  made  no  effort  to  conceal 
his  satisfaction. 

"Wetherby's  got  a  lot  of  self-confidence,"  said 
the  chief  that  night,  "but  that's  not  a  bad  quality. 
A  few  weeks  in  camp  will  tone  him  down,  and  any- 
way, it's  a  secondary  matter.  As  long  as  he's  on 
to  his  job  we  can  forgive  him  the  rest.  I'm  certainly 
glad  he's  experienced.  Did  you  notice  his  build? 
He  sure  ought  to  make  a  cracker  jack  cruiser!" 

This  sentiment  fairly  expressed  the  opinion  of  the 
majority  and  no  one  at  the  time  attempted  to  dis- 
pute its  accuracy.  We  turned  in  with  the  comfort- 
able conviction  that  we  were,  on  the  whole,  a  party 
of  rarely  well-chosen  and  efficient  young  men. 


NEXT  day  we  set  out  by  rail  for  Hillsboro,  a  cow 
town  at  the  foot  of  the  Black  Range  some  seventy- 
eight  miles  from  Silver  City.  This  was  our  real 
starting  point,  where  Brown  and  Ewing,  the  pack- 
ers, were  to  meet  us  with  an  outfit  of  twenty  burros 
and  the  two  horses  they  needed  for  "  wrangling. " 
For  a  considerable  part  of  our  progress  through  the 
mountains  would  be  along  narrow  trails  where 
wagons  are  impracticable  and  where  packing  with 
burros  is  by  far  the  safest  and  cheapest  method  of 
moving  camp. 

At  the  station  in  Silver  City,  just  before  starting, 
an  amusing  but  somewhat  disquieting  incident  oc- 
curred. We  were  busy  getting  our  stuff  on  the  train 
— each  man  having  a  bed  of  three  or  four  blankets 
rolled  in  a  sixteen  foot  "tarp"  and  a  dufflebag  full 
of  clothes,  when  Horace  arrived  and  indicated  a 
formidable  pile  of  bags  and  boxes  as  his  contribu- 

Frazer  eyed  the  array  aghast. 

"What's  all  that?"  he  exclaimed. 

"My  outfit,"  replied  Horace,  with  pardonable 



No  one  had  thought  of  calling  the  attention  of  the 
experienced  camper  to  the  elementary  rule  that  each 
man  must  limit  his  personal  belongings  to  absolute 
necessaries.  The  stuff  he  had  brought  would  weigh 
five  hundred  pounds.  The  chief  thought  there  must 
be  some  misunderstanding. 

"Didn't  I  tell  you  we  were  packing  with  burros !" 
he  asked.  "We  can't  afford  to  take  over  a  hundred 
pounds  apiece I" 

"Well,"  announced  Horace,  kindly  but  firmly, 
"IVe  been  over  my  effects  carefully,  I  may  say 
painstakingly,  and  I  really  don't  feel  that  I  can 
spare  any  of  the  articles  I  have  selected  for  the 

Frazer  stared  for  a  brief  moment  at  the  bland 
countenance  before  him,  cast  a  wild  glance  at  his 
watch,  and  without  another  word  dived  into  the  dis- 
play and  began  frantically  to  sort  out  and  separate 
from  the  mass  those  things  which  he  conceived 
necessary  to  their  owner's  continued  existence. 

An  air  mattress,  a  portable  rubber  bathtub,  and 
a  case  of  dehydrated  food  went  into  the  discard  at 
once,  together  with  a  large  and  miscellaneous  as- 
sortment of  fishing  tackle  and  sportsmen's  clothes. 
As  these  were  augmented  by  a  chest  of  medicine,  a 
cork  helmet,  and  a  neat  little  set  of  "Camper's  Clas- 
sics" bound  in  green  morocco,  the  indignant  Weth- 
erby  protested  volubly. 

Frazer  ignored  him  until  his  task  was  finished. 
Then  he  straightened  up. 

The  Cruiser  Climbs  High  Peaks 

Or  Descends  Into  Yawning  Canyons 


" Those  things  there,"  he  said,  pointing  to  the 
larger  stock,  "will  go  back  to  your  hotel.  These 
here,"  and  he  indicated  a  forlorn  little  pile  of  bed- 
ding and  clothes,  "will  go  in  the  train  with  us. 
You'd  better  toss  them  on  quickly,  because  we  start 
in  three  minutes." 

He  turned  and  clambered  on  the  train,  leaving 
Horace  to  struggle  with  his  repacking  alone.  This 
was  unwise,  as  it  turned  out  later,  for  in  the  proc- 
ess he  managed  to  slip  enough  medicine,  books,  and 
dehydrated  vegetables  into  his  bed  to  earn  for  him- 
self the  undying  enmity  of  the  packers  and  doubt- 
less of  the  capable  little  burro  whose  lot  it  was  to 
carry  the  load  through  the  fastnesses  of  the  Black 

The  incident  had  the  effect  of  casting  a  temporary 
shadow  over  the  bright  impression  Horace  had 
produced  the  day  before.  I  noticed  that,  from  time 
to  time,  Frazer  eyed  his  "cracker jack  cruiser"  dur- 
ing the  journey  to  Hillsboro  with  a  puzzled,  disap- 
pointed look  which  held  more  of  sorrow  than  of  an- 

We  arrived  at  our  destination  the  following  after- 
noon and  were  met  at  the  station  by  Brown,  whose 
countenance  was  positively  lugubrious. 

"What's  the  matter?"  queried  Frazer  sharply. 
"Anybody  dead!" 

Brown's  expression  became,  if  anything,  more 
gloomy  than  before. 

"He's  on  one,"  he  remarked  succinctly,  jerking 


his  thumb  backward  in  the  general  direction  of  the 
Sample  saloon,  from  which,  despite  the  time  of  day, 
issued  unmistakable  sounds  of  revelry.  We  began 
to  connect  the  missing  packer,  Ewing,  with  Brown's 
despondent  air,  and  started  en  masse  for  the  scene 
of  action. 

Frazer  called  a  halt. 

"You  two  fellows, "  he  said,  to  Brown  and  myself, 
"come  with  me.  The  rest  can  get  the  stuff  over  to 
the  hotel  and  arrange  for  supper  and  rooms.  We  '11 
stay  here  to-night. " 

We  found  Ewing  the  centre  of  an  admiring 
throng  of  cowpunchers.  He  was  seated  on  a  table 
in  the  centre  of  the  bar  room,  very  drunk,  and 
playing  a  violin  with  remarkable  skill.  Frazer 
decided  that  there  would  be  nothing  gained  by  an 
untimely  interruption,  so  we  joined  the  audience 
and  listened  for  an  hour  to  as  really  excellent 
a  performance  as  I  have  ever  heard.  The  music 
ranged  from  popular  airs  to  classical  arias,  from 
the  "Arkansas  Traveller"  to  Dvorak's  "Humor- 
eske."  The  crowd  was  delighted;  now  silent,  spell- 
bound, now  moved  to  the  wildest  enthusiasm.  Ac- 
customed to  the  squeak  of  a  phonograph,  or  the 
clumsy  efforts  of  some  local  "fiddler"  whose  ambi- 
tion ceased  at  "Listen  to  the  Mockingbird,"  the 
men  were  enthralled  by  this  wonder. 

"Been  here  a  week  and  we  never  knowed  he  could 
play  a  lick,"  shouted  one  husky  cowman,  regret- 
fully, "that's  what  comes  of  a  man  keepin'  sober!" 


"We  sure  ought  to  have  a  baile  before  he  leaves," 
suggested  another. 

The  idea  met  with  instant  approval.  Eiders 
leaped  to  waiting  horses  and  left  at  a  lope  in  all 
directions  to  seek  partners  for  the  dance. 

We  seized  upon  the  opportunity  created  by  this 
diversion  to  approach  Ewing.  The  musician 
greeted  us  quietly,  lazily  cordial.  He  appeared  not 
at  all  embarrassed  by  the  circumstances  of  the  meet- 
ing. I  was  surprised  at  his  nonchalance,  surprised, 
too,  when  he  spoke,  by  the  purity  of  his  accent,  be- 
neath the  veneer  of  cowboy  slang,  and  the  unmistak- 
able hint  of  refinement  in  his  features,  marred  and 
dulled  though  they  were  by  the  ruthless  hand  of  dis- 
sipation. It  was  immediately  apparent  that  the 
packer  was  a  man  apart  from  his  present  fellows — 
a  "  gentlemen  ranker "  to  all  appearances — at  once 
better  and  worse,  but  always  different  from  the 
rough,  good-natured  world  in  which  he  moved. 

Though  patently  intoxicated  now,  he  gave  no  of- 
fensive evidence  of  his  condition.  His  voice  was  low 
and  well  modulated,  his  manners,  though  a  little  too 
deliberate  and  exaggerated,  were  otherwise  perfect. 

Frazer,  after  complying  with  the  formality  of  or- 
dering drinks,  diplomatically  complimented  the 
musician  upon  his  playing. 

"I  should  think  you  could  make  a  pretty  good 
living  with  your  violin,"  he  finished. 

Ewing  frowned.  Then  his  countenance  cleared 
with  startling  suddenness. 


"I  could,"  he  laughed.  "I  ought  to  be  able  to! 
I've  worked  at  it  most  all  my  life.  But,"  he  added 
blandly,  ignoring  the  question  in  our  eyes,  "I'd 
rather  earn  my  living  as  I  do.  .  .  .  Let's  have 
another,  what  do  you  say?" 

Frazer  shrugged  his  shoulders.  As  we  lined  up 
at  the  bar  he  said,  casually,  ".We  move  to-morrow, 
you  know,  Ewing!" 

"Yes,  I  know.  I'll  be  on  deck  all'right.  I've  got 
to  play  for  the  dance  to-night;  the  boys  expect  it. 
But  I'll  be  on  the  job  in  the  morning.  Better  come 
on  over  this  evening,"  he  added,  as  we  turned  away, 
"you  and  the  rest.  You  might  see  some  fun." 

None  of  us,  however,  accepted  the  suggestion. 
We  decided  to  enjoy  instead  a  last  sleep  "between 
sheets."  But  we  heard  until  late  the  shuffle  and 
stamp  of  feet,  the  shrill  laughter  of  women,  the 
deeper,  louder  voices  of  the  men,  and  through  the 
confused  medley  of  sounds  the  singing  of  Swing's 
magic  violin,  sweet,  insistent,  weaving  its  living 
melody,  making  articulate  in  many  tones  the  deter- 
mined, fleeting  joy  of  the  dancers. 


BEFOKE  starting  out  from  Hillsboro  we  branded  the 
pack  burros.  They  were  all  "broncs"  caught  wild 
in  the  hills  and  quite  unmanageable.  The  job,  in 
consequence,  was  fraught  with  a  certain  amount  of 
excitement.  Since  we  were  anxious  to  be  on  our 
way,  every  one — including  Ewing,  who  showed  up 
bright  and  early,  apparently  none  the  worse  for  his 
"day  of  rest" — turned  in  and  helped.  But  it  was, 
notwithstanding,  a  matter  of  considerable  difficulty 
to  rope  and  hog-tie  the  score  of  restive  jackasses 
and  to  hold  down  each  one  in  turn  while  the  pack- 
ers, who  wielded  the  branding  irons,  seared  a  large 
",IT.  S."  on  the  neck  of  the  prostrate  "jack"  or 

Wetherby,  of  us  all,  took  the  occasion  most  seri- 
ously. He  approached  the  conflict  with  a  purpose- 
ful mien  worthy  of  a  crusader,  and  expended  a  tre- 
mendous amount  of  energy  during  the  morning; 
though  his  chief  utility  lay,  after  it  was  all  over,  in 
having  furnished  us  with  a  laugh  that  lingered  in 
our  minds  many  a  day.  He  elected  in  the  beginning 
to  wield  a  rope,  alleging  familiarity  with  the  art, 
but  the  astute  burros  eluded  his  feverish  casts  with 



careless  ease,  ducking  perfunctorily  whenever  the 
loop  by  any  chance  threatened  to  fall  in  the  vicinity 
of  one  of  their,  number.  Whereat  Horace  would 
carefully  recoil  his  rope  and  swear  mightily.  He 
was,  he  assured  us,  a  "f earful  blasphemer." 

After  a  time  the  unsuccessful  roper  decided  that 
his  methods  were  too  precipitate.  He  selected  an 
inoffensive-looking  jinny  with  drooping  ears  and  be- 
gan a  policy  of  stealthy  and  insidiously  slow  ad- 
vances. He  stalked  his  victim,  infinitely  cautious, 
until  within  a  few  yards,  then  with  a  yell  of  triumph 
rushed  upon  her  and  holding  the  noose  in  both  hands 
dropped  it  over  her  head. 

"I've  got  one!  I've  got  one!"  he  shouted,  much 
as  an  angler  hails  the  landing  of  a  three-pound  trout. 

But  instead  of  driving  his  captive  to  the  fire  he 
attempted  to  lead  it,  a  procedure  to  which  the  burro 
is  notoriously  averse.  There  was  a  brief  but  fervid 
tug  of  war.  Horace  and  the  jinny,  a  few  feet  apart, 
glared  into  each  other's  eyes  and  strove  fiercely. 
It  was  indubitably  a  draw,  since  neither  moved. 

Wetherby,  however,  now  thoroughly  aroused,  was 
not  to  be  denied.  He  looped  his  rope  around  the 
burro's  nose,  shutting  off  her  "wind,' '  and  the  strug- 
gle began  anew.  Half  suffocated,  she  advanced  per- 
force a  few  short  steps;  the  rope  slackened  sud- 
denly, and  Horace  stumbled  and  fell  full  length  upon 
his  back.  This  manoeuvre,  practically  simultaneous 
with  the  burro's  forward  movement,  convinced  the 
alarmed  youth  that  he  was  being  attacked.  He 


promptly  released  the  rope  and  waved  his  legs 
frantically  in  the  general  direction  of  the  en- 
emy, crying  lustily:  "Oh,  the  little  Devil!  Help! 

We  finally  persuaded  him  that  he  was  in  no  im- 
mediate danger,  and  he  allowed  himself  to  be  as- 
sisted to  his  feet,  none  the  worse  for  his  harrowing 

It  was  evident,  however,  that  as  a  burro-puncher 
Horace  could  not  be  considered  an  unqualified  hit. 
We  were  all  greatly  edified  by  the  affair,  with  the  ex- 
ception of  Frazer,  who  eyed  Wetherby  gloomily 
enough.  He  was  apparently  approaching  a  state 
of  pessimism  concerning  his  protege's  complete  ef- 

In  the  afternoon  we  saddled  and  packed  the 
twenty  burros  with  tents,  beds,  dufflebags  and  sup- 
plies, weighing  altogether  over  two  thousand  pounds. 
It  seemed  marvellous  that  the  little  beasts  could 
stand  up  under  their  loads.  We  had  yet  to  learn  that 
the  burro,  for  its  size,  is  the  strongest,  toughest  and 
most  tireless  of  pack  animals. 

By  the  time  our  preparations  were  completed, 
there  was  not  over  three  hours  of  daylight  left,  but 
by  dint  of  pretty  constant  effort  on  the  part  of  the 
packers  we  drove  our  outfit  eight  miles  to  Kingston 
and  made  camp  before  darkness  fell. 

During  the  trip  we  discovered  that  Brown  and 
Ewing  had  already  found  names  for  the  burros. 
Some  of  these  appellations  were  amusingly;  descrip- 


tive  of  personal  peculiarities,  others  had  been  seized 
upon  because  of  a  fancied  resemblance  the  animal 
designated  bore  to  some  friend  or  acquaintance 
of  the  boys*  Thus  "Miss  May,"  a  large,  digni- 
fied jinny,  was  so  christened  on  account  of  a  strik- 
ing likeness,  in  port  and  expression,  to  the  buxom 
proprietress  of  a  local  restaurant.  " Mallet  Head," 
' ( Pepper, "  "  Curly, "  "  Bed, "  "  Beetle  "  and  '  '  Methu- 
salum,"  were  so  styled  for  various  qualities  or  de- 
fects which  caught  the  fancy  of  the  self-appointed 
committee  on  titles.  "Whitey,"  the  jack,  who 
looked  like  an  albino,  was  in  the  days  that  followed 
far  more  often  called  by  some  other  and  less  ele- 
gant term  than  his  given  name.  A  persistently  per- 
verse ego,  in  which  he  gloried,  was  responsible  for 
more  mislaid  tempers,  I  think,  than  any  other  one 
item  in  the  catalogue  of  daily  trials. 

We  found  Kingston  merely  a  melancholy  collec- 
tion of  deserted  buildings.  Some  of  these  were  quite 
evidently  the  ruins  of  rather  imposing  structures  of 
brick  and  stone.  Across  the  front  of  the  largest  of 
all,  in  faded  letters,  were  the  words  "Board  of 
Trade."  The  place  seemed  inexpressibly  lonesome 
and  cheerless,  although  in  its  day  Kingston  had  been 
a  thriving  mining  camp  of  five  thousand  souls.  But 
with  a  drop  in  the  price  of  silver  and  the  closing  of 
the  larger  mines  the  city  had  been  snuffed  out  like  a 

Now  there  were  but  three  families  living  within 
its  limits — the  Postmaster,  an  old  miner  who  did 


assessment  work  on  some  of  the  claims,  and  Jack- 
son, the  Forest  Ranger,  who  made  the  place  his  head- 
quarters for  administering  the  ranger  district  of 
which  he  was  in  charge. 

We  stayed  over  a  day  to  find  an  established  sec- 
tion corner  and  to  frame  a  plan  of  campaign  with 
Jackson,  who  of  course  knew  thoroughly  the  coun- 
try we  were  to  work.  He  was  able  on  this  account 
to  give  Frazer  information  which  later  proved  of 
great  value.  For  the  region  we  were  entering  is 
conceded  to  be  as  consistently  rough  a  country  as 
can  be  found  in  the  Southwest,  and  an  accurate 
knowledge  of  possible  camp  sites,  springs,  and  trails 
was  a  very  necessary  prerequisite  to  our  actual  in- 
vasion of  its  strongholds. 

The  Black  Range  is  physiographically  a  division 
of  the  Arizona  Highlands  System.  As  such  it  ex- 
tends a  considerable  distance  north  into  the  Datil 
National  Forest.  But  locally  and  for  the  purposes 
of  this  chronicle  the  name  is  applied  to  that  high 
main  ridge,  with  its  timbered  watersheds,  which  runs 
due  south  from  the  Datil  line  forty  miles  to  the 
lower  boundary  of  the  Gila  National  Forest,  where 
it  sinks  gradually  to  the  level  of  the  surrounding 
practically  treeless  country.  The  width  of  the  tim- 
ber bearing  area  varies  from  five  to  twenty  miles, 
so  that  we  had  to  plan  to  cover  a  tract  of  some  four 
hundred  square  miles  in  the  speediest  and  most 
economical  manner  compatible  with  thoroughness. 

The  chief  matter  for  decision  was  the  course  of  a 


baseline,  for  upon  this  would  depend  our  route  and 
the  manner  in  which  we  would  approach  and  cruise 
the  various  divisions  of  the  range.  This  baseline, 
we  learned,  was  simply  a  surveyed  line  running  from 
the  nearest  established  section  corner  to  the  camp 
where  we  were  to  begin  work.  This  accounted  in 
great  part  for  our  stop  at  Kingston,  where  the  only 
known  corner  for  miles  around  was  located.  After 
carrying  the  baseline  to  the  first  camp  it  would  fol- 
low the  ridges  or  canyon  bottoms — wherever  the  go- 
ing was  easiest — according  to  whatever  plan  Frazer 
devised  in  regard  to  the  general  scheme  of  our  work. 
The  baseline,  Frazer  said,  would  be  plotted  out  on 
township  plats,  carried  for  the  purpose  by  the  in- 
strument man,  each  day  as  we  went  along.  Since  it 
was  to  be  tied  in  with  the  section  corner  at  King- 
ston it  would — assuming  accurate  computation — en- 
able us  to  ascertain  our  exact  location  as  regards 
section  and  township  at  any  time,  and  all  other  work 
would  be  carried  on  with  reference  to  it  as  a  guide. 

The  outfit  used  in  carrying  forward  the  baseline, 
we  found,  consisted  of  a  plane  table,  an  alidade  and 
a  stadia  rod.  The  plane  table  was  a  flat,  smooth 
plane  of  wood  an  inch  thick  and  about  two  feet 
square,  which  screwed  onto  a  heavy  wooden  tripod 
with  spike-tipped  legs.  The  alidade,  which  when  in 
use  was  to  be  set  upon  the  plane  table  instead  of 
upon  a  tripod  of  its  own,  turned  out  to  be  an  instru- 
ment like  a  telescope  with  several  mysterious  look- 
ing little  attachments  in  the  form  of  thumbscrews 


and  arcs  with  degrees  measured  off  on  them,  and  a 
thin  flat  metal  base  about  two  inches  wide  and  twelve 
long.  The  stadia  rod,  which  would  be  carried  in  ad- 
vance, to  sight  upon  through  the  telescope  part  of 
the  alidade,  was  just  a  long  straight  slab  of  light 
wood  an  inch  thick,  four  inches  wide  and  twelve  feet 
long;  with  a  strip  of  linoleum,  painted  across  with 
red  stripes  an  inch  apart  and  having  black  numbers 
to  mark  the  feet,  tacked  on  one  side. 

Aided  by  a  general  map  of  the  forest  and  Jack- 
son's familiarity  with  conditions  in  his  district, 
Frazer  succeeded  at  length  in  drawing  up  a  sort  of 
baseline  itinerary,  subject  of  course  to  frequent 
changes  in  the  field  as  conditions  should  later  dic- 
tate ;  though  our  immediate  plans  were  fairly  simple. 
Kingston  lies,  as  I  think  I  said,  at  the  foot  of  the 
eastern  slope  of  the  Black  Eange,  some  four  miles 
from  the  top  of  the  range  and  about  three  quarters 
of  the  way  along  the  range  from  the  Datil  boundary. 
So  it  was  decided  to  work  the  short  southern  end  of 
the  range  first.  The  baseline  Frazer  proposed  to 
carry  at  once  from  where  we  were  to  the  top  of  the 
main  ridge,  straight  away.  Then  south  along  the 
top,  while  the  cruisers  worked  east  and  west  from  it 
until  we  reached  the  southern  limit  of  timber. 
There  the  proposed  course  swung  westward  in  a 
horseshoe  curve  and  turning  north  again  tapped 
the  timbered  country  on  the  west  side  of  the  range, 
over  the  divide,  until  we  got  far  enough  north  to 
come  abreast  of  our  first  camp  west  of  Kingston. 


This  having  all  been  settled  we  started  work  next 
morning.  Jackson  showed  us  the  re-established  cor- 
ner near  his  station,  where  the  baseline  was  to  begin. 
We  all  went  along  this  first  day  to  get  an  idea  of  how 
the  line  was  run,  but  the  crew  selected  by  the  chief 
for  this  department  did  most  of  the  work. 

The  baseline  crew  consisted  of  three  men.  To 
Wallace  was  assigned  the  unenviable  position  of  in- 
strument man.  It  would  be  his  privilege,  in  addi- 
tion to  his  regular  duties  of  using  the  instruments 
and  making  the  necessary  computations,  to  carry  the 
plane  table  and  alidade  all  day  on  his  shoulders,  a 
task  irksome  at  best  and  in  rough  going  an  almost 
intolerable  burden.  Nevertheless  he  subsequently 
toted  his  unwieldy  outfit  well  over  a  hundred 
miles  of  baseline  before  the  season  ended,  to  say 
nothing  of  the  walks  from  camp  to  work  and  back; 
and  no  one  in  all  that  time  ever  heard  him  register 
so  much  as  a  whisper  of  complaint  or  self-sympathy. 

Conway  was  chosen  rodman.  His  duty  was  to  go 
ahead  and  set  up  his  stadia  for  each  "shot,"  as  a 
reading  of  the  alidade  was  termed,  on  the  spot  he 
thought  would  afford  the  best  sight  for  the  instru- 
ment man.  His  post  required  a  person  of  consider- 
able discretion,  according  to  Frazer,  since  the  longer 
and  more  direct  each  shot  could  be  made  the  quicker 
would  be  the  progress  of  the  work. 

An  axeman  was  needed  to  complete  the  "baseline 
bunch,"  to  blaze  the  line,  set  stations  for  cruisers 
and  cut  out  brush  or  small  trees  when  this  was 

Wetherby  holds  the  calipers 


Wallace  at  the  plane  table,  Brown  blazing  the  line,  Conway  with 
the  stadia  rod  in  the  distance 


necessary  to  give  Wallace  a  better  sight  on  the 
stadia.  Brown  undertook  to  hold  down  this  job 
until  the  rest  of  us  had  been  tried  out  as  cruisers. 

We  watched  the  first  shot  of  the  season  with  in- 
terest. Wallace  set  up  the  plane  table  directly  over 
the  section  corner  Jackson  showed  us  and  fast- 
ened a  blank  township  plat  on  the  table  with  thumb 
tacks.  He  wrote  the  number  of  the  township  we 
were  in  at  the  top  and  marked  down  in  its  proper  lo- 
cation on  the  sheet  the  section  corner  by  which  we 
stood.  We  knew  now  where  we  were  on  the  map  as 
well  as  on  the  ground. 

From  this  point  we  were  to  trust  Wallace.  He 
understood  the  system  of  township  mapping  and 
surveying  and  as  often  as  we  would  work  over  the 
edge  of  any  plat  on  the  plane  table  with  the  baseline, 
the  sheet  would  be  removed  and  the  plat  for  the  par- 
ticular township  we  were  about  to  enter  would  be 
substituted.  Thus  at  the  end  of  the  season,  Frazer 
told  us,  the  course  of  the  baseline  would  be  repre- 
sented by  a  zigzag  line  (each  zig  or  zag  a  shot  of  the 
instrument)  running  across  township  after  town- 
ship until  the  cruisers,  working  out  from  it,  had  cov- 
ered the  whole  Black  Range  area. 

It  is  well  to  state  here  that  in  properly  surveyed 
country,  where  all  or  most  of  the  section  corners  are 
established,  this  problem  of  a  baseline  need  not  have 
bothered  us  at  all,  for  in  that  case  we  could  have 
based  our  work  on  the  survey,  starting  each  day  at 
an  established  monument  and  "checking  in"  for  ac- 


curacy  at  each  corner  we  passed  throughout  the  day. 
But  though  a  part  of  the  Black  Kange  country  had 
been  surveyed  sometime  in  the  dim  and  distant  past, 
corners  were  scarce  as  hens'  teeth,  not  worth  look- 
ing for,  and  a  baseline  was  eminently  necessary  if 
we  were  to  know  at  all  " where  we  were  at." 

To  return  to  our  first  shot.  When  the  plane  table 
was  set  up,  the  township  plat  tacked  on,  and  the  posi- 
tion of  our  corner  marked,  Wallace  carefully  re- 
moved the  alidade  from  its  case  and  set  it  on  the 
table.  Then  he  placed  a  Forest  Service  regulation 
compass  on  a  corner  of  the  table,  its  sides  flush  with 
the  two  sides  of  the  table  that  joined  at  the  corner, 
and  fastened  it  in  place  with  thumb  tacks.  He  then 
"orientated"  the  compass  by  turning  the  table,  that 
is,  made  the  sights  of  the  instrument  point  due  east 
so  that  the  sides  of  the  table  faced  squarely  south, 
north,  east  and  west.  The  oblong  metal  base  of  the 
alidade  was  placed  so  that  the  telescope  of  the  in- 
strument pointed  northward,  in  the  direction  we 
wished  to  go,  and  the  rear  right  hand  corner  of  the 
base  was  set  accurately  at  the  point  which  marked 
the  section  corner  where  we  were  at  the  time, — the 
reason  for  which  will  appear  presently. 

Conway  had  in  the  meantime  gone  forward  as  far 
as  he  could  without  being  hidden  by  brush,  trees, 
rocks  or  the  conformation  of  the  ground.  After 
waving  him  into  the  field  of  the  telescope  by  a  set  of 
prearranged  signals,  Wallace  then  sighted  at  the 
stadia  rod  through  the  lens,  and  by  various  manipu- 


lations  of  the  thumb  screws  and  a  few  mild  expres- 
sions of  self-exhortation,  finally  succeeded  in  fixing 
the  junction  of  the  two  cross  hairs  on  the  lens  upon 
a  point  on  the  rod.  When  he  had  noted  down  a  few 
figures  he  waved  Conway  to  desist  and  the  latter 
thereupon  marked  the  spot  where  the  base  of  his 
stadia  had  stood  with  a  stone  and  sat  down  to  rest 
until  we  came  up. 

How  he  did  it  I  don't  know,  for  I'm  not  and  never 
hope  to  be  a  mathematician,  but  by  consulting  the 
scale  on  the  arcs  of  his  instrument  and  a  little  leather 
covered  book  of  tables  and  formulae,  and  after  mak- 
ing sundry  feverish  calculations  on  a  pad  of  scratch 
paper,  Wallace  presently  announced  that  we  had 
progressed  (by  shot)  two  hundred  and  three  feet, 
and  that  the  elevation  of  our  next  set  up — where 
Conway  was — would  be  eight  feet  higher  than  where 
we  stood.  The  alidade,  it  appeared,  had  the  mys- 
terious faculty  of  revealing  both  distance  and  in- 
crease or  decrease  of  elevation  to  the  operator. 

And  this  was  not  all.  We  were  to  see  now  the 
reason  for  placing  the  corner  of  the  base  of  the  ali- 
dade on  the  point  on  the  township  plat  which  repre- 
sented our  present  location.  With  a  finely  marked 
rule  Wallace  measured  the  distance  of  the  shot, 
changed  to  the  scale  of  the  plat,  along  the  base  of 
the  alidade  and  stuck  a  needle-pointed  instrument 
like  an  awl  into  the  plat  at  a  point  corresponding  to 
the  spot  where  Conway  sat.  Then  he  drew  a  pencil 
along  the  paper,  between  the  two  points,  using  the 


alidade  base,  which  ran  in  a  direction  exactly  paral- 
lel to  the  sights  of  the  instrument,  as  a  guide,  and 
removed  the  instrument.  There,  as  plain  as  lead 
could  make  it,  was  our  first  shot — made,  plotted,  and 
drawn.  It  wasn't  a  very  long  one,  but  it  seemed 
rather  wonderful  to  us.  We  did  nothing  like  this 
that  first  day.  Our  progress  all  told,  I  believe,  was 
scarcely  a  mile.  The  campaign,  though,  was  at  last 
under  way,  we  were  at  work  and  learning,  and  every 
one  was  cheerful,  confident,  and  in  the  very  best  of 


WE  moved  on  the  following  day  to  the  top  of  the 
range.  Our  first  camp  was  on  the  east  side  of  Saw- 
yer's Peak,  a  well-known  local  landmark.  And 
whereas  at  Kingston  the  elevation  was  6,300,  at  camp 
we  made  the  altitude  just  9,300  feet  above  sea  level. 

While  the  baseline  was  being  brought  up  a  couple 
of  days  were  devoted  to  "  sample  plots. "  An  area 
(usually  ten  chains  square)  was  measured  off  on 
the  ground  with  chain  and  compass,  the  diameter  of 
each  tree  thereon  calipered,  the  timber  in  feet  board 
measure  estimated  from  approved  volume  tables,  the 
reproduction  tallied,  and  notes  on  miscellaneous 
silvical  data  of  interest  recorded. 

These  sample  acres,  a  welcome  respite  to  the 
cruiser,  were  afterward  taken  at  intervals  through- 
out the  season.  The  work  was  valuable  not  only  for 
the  collection  of  silvical  facts,  but  for  the  purpose  of 
checking  the  figures  of  individual  estimators.  By 
comparing  the  appearance  of  the  stand  on  such  plots 
with  that  found  on  his  run  a  cruiser  possessed  a 
standard  for  sizing  up  timber  which  tended  to 
greatly  increase  the  accuracy  of  his  estimates.  Es- 
pecially was  this  experience  worth  while  to  those  of 



us  who  were  new  to  the  work.  We  could  scarcely 
have  undertaken  to  cruise  without  it. 

And  indeed,  even  experienced  timber  workers  find 
it  necessary  to  get  some  such  line  on  how  the  trees 
run,  in  feet  board  measure,  when  they  enter  an  un- 
worked  region.  In  the  Black  Eange  the  frequent 
taking  of  sample  plots  was  particularly  necessary 
on  account  of  the  constant  variation  in  altitude  and 
the  consequent  change  of  species  and  quality  and 
amount  of  timber. 

In  general  the  best  stands  of  Western  Yellow  Pine, 
which  is  the  chief,  or  technically  the  "  dominant " 
species  of  the  forests  of  the  Southwest,  are  usually 
found  at  between  7,000  and  8,500  feet  altitude, 
though  scattering  trees  grow  in  the  canyons  as  low 
as  6,000  feet  and  on  slopes  with  a  southern  exposure 
as  high  as  10,000  feet  above  sea  level.  But  at  these 
higher  levels,  generally  between  8,500  and  9,500  feet, 
the  dominant  type  is  a  composite  of  Douglas  Fir  and 
Western  Yellow  Pine.  Along  creeks  and  on  north 
slopes  one  is  apt  to  discover  that  Douglas  Fir  and 
White  Fir  have  crowded  out  the  pine  entirely,  and 
compose  practically  the  whole  stand  in  such  places. 
At  9,000  feet  Engelmann  Spruce  appears,  and  above 
9,500  feet  this  species  predominates,  with  perhaps 
a  smaller  stand  of  Alpine  or  Cork  Bark  Fir  present 
as  a  secondary  species. 

Since  our  work  in  the  Black  Eange  took  us  during 
the  season  through  altitudes  varying  from  6,000  to 
over  10,000  feet  we  encountered  at  one  time  or  an- 


other  each  of  these  varieties  of  timber  and  every  type 
of  condition  and  site  quality,  and  a  known  basis, 
continually  re-established,  for  computing  timber 
values  was  practically  indispensable.  Whenever  we 
moved,  therefore,  from  one  locality  to  another,  we 
took  these  sample  plots  as  an  almost  invariable  pre- 
liminary to  actual  cruising. 

At  our  Sawyer's  Peak  camp  we  arranged  the  mat- 
ter of  tent-mates,  for  the  seven  by  nine  sleeping 
tents  that  we  carried  were  each  easily  large  enough 
for  two.  Frazer  and  Bob  Moak,  who  had  worked  to- 
gether before,  elected  to  renew  old-time  relations 
and  bunk  together.  Brown  and  Ewing  naturally 
gravitated  to  the  same  tent;  Bert  slumbered  in  soli- 
tary state  under  the  big  fourteen  by  sixteen  cook 
tent,  and  Conway  and  myself  undertook  to  share  a 
"canvas  cave"  for  the  season.  This  left  Horace  for 
Wallace,  who  did  not  seem  overcome  by  the  honour, 
but  he  accepted  the  situation  sans  argument,  with 
customary  good  nature. 

Once  settled,  our  tents  set  and  ditched,  we  exam- 
ined the  surrounding  country  with  considerable  in- 
terest, for  cruising  was  imminent.  We  would  have 
much  preferred  to  start  in  on  easy  country  but  the 
prospect  of  "pickings"  appeared  slim.  From  camp 
we  could  see  for  miles  in  every  direction.  The  view 
to  the  eastward,  from  Sawyer's  Peak,  was  superb 
— or  "fierce,"  according  to  what  one  sought.  Yet 
though  we  examined  it  through  eyes  prejudiced  in 
favour  of  gently  rolling  slopes  and  shallow  draws,  we 


could  not  but  admire  the  gigantic  abandon  with  which 
the  tall  cliffs  broke  away  in  ragged  bluffs  and  ridges 
of  rim  rock,  the  sweep  of  the  towering  timbered 
ridges,  the  sinister  depth  of  great  yawning  canyons, 
haunts  of  the  grizzly  and  the  mountain  lion. 

I  remember  one  evening  especially  v/hen  this 
matchless  panorama  produced  an  impression  upon 
me  that  still  remains  vivid  and  undimmed,  with  all 
the  wild  grandeur  of  outline  and  delicacy  of  colour- 
ing that  made  the  original  unique  in  my  experience. 

Frazer  and  I  had  strolled  out  to  Lookout  Ledge, 
a  little  rocky  point  near  camp,  just  at  sunset.  The 
broad  forest  falling  downward  and  away  before  us 
stretched  grandly,  a  mass  of  moving  green,  to  the 
timber  line.  Beyond,  rolling  yellow  hills  tumbled 
and  sprawled,  lower  and  ever  lower,  till  they  melted 
into  a  velvet  plain  with  the  tiny  silver  vein  of  the 
Eio  Grande  winding  across  like  an  attenuated,  shin- 
ing snake.  Further  yet,  beyond  other  plains,  faintly 
visible,  rose  the  uneven,  misty  line  of  the  San  Mateo 
mountains,  fifty  miles  away  as  the  crow  flies.  The 
sky  and  the  air  were  alive  with  a  warm,  marvellous 
afterglow.  It  subdued  the  harsher  features  of  the 
scene,  touched  the  hills  and  valleys  with  wonderfully 
soft  pastel  shades,  and  made  the  wavering  outline  of 
the  far-off  range  throb  and  glow  with  magical 
opalescent  hues,  like  the  Mountains  of  Dream. 

I  had  been  completely  lost  in  this  vision,  when  Fra- 
zer 's  voice  brought  me  back  with  a  jerk. 


''We've  got  our  work  cut  out  for  us  here,"  lie  re- 
marked casually.  "Look  at  that  canyon  down  there. 
Isn't  it  a  corker  1" 

My  exalted  mood  vanished  as  completely  as  died 
the  light  on  the  distant  peaks.  I  gazed  on  the  scene 
with  new  eyes.  The  spectacle  that  a  moment  before 
had  been  inspiring,  full  of  a  vague,  beautiful  prom- 
ise, was  gone.  In  its  place  loomed  a  land  of  menace 
and  mystery.  The  darkening  hills  seemed  to  frown 
ominously,  the  forest,  gloomy  and  vast,  to  hold  dire 
threats,  the  rocky  canyons  to  hide  dark  secrets, 
grimly  guarded  from  profanation  by  man.  For  a 
moment  a  feeling  of  awe  akin  to  fear  swept  over  me. 
I  felt  small  and  quite  insignificant.  For  the  first 
and  only  time  during  the  season  I  wished  heartily 
that  I  were  well  out  of  the  whole  business. 

Frazer  glanced  at  me  and  laughed. 

"Don't  get  scared,"  he  said;  "you'll  live  through 
it.  Everybody  who  starts  on  reconnaissance  over- 
estimates the  difficulties.  You  mustn't  let  your  im- 
agination run  away  with  you.  One  thing  above  all 
you've  got  to  remember:  don't  let  any  little  bit  of 
striking  scenery  get  your  goat  'til  you  come  to  it. 
You'll  often  see  ahead  what  appears  to  be  a  straight- 
away cliff,  but  when  you  get  there  it  may  turn  out 
to  be  an  easy  slope.  Besides,  if  you  can't  manage  to 
get  over  a  bluff  or  peak  you  can  offset  a  few  chains 
and  go  round  it." 

This  sounded  all  right  but  I  didn't  feel  much  bet- 


ter.  I  was  simply  in  a  funk,  that  was  all  there  was 
to  it. 

"Is  there  much  of  it  like  this?"  I  inquired  feebly. 

"Well,"  replied  Frazer,  with  chilling  cheerful- 
ness, "the  Black  Eange,  as  a  whole,  is  considered 
about  the  roughest  country  in  the  District.  I've 
been  over  a  good  deal  of  it  in  a  preliminary  survey 
and,  while  some  places  are  better  than  this,  some 
are  worse.  The  Animas  Canyon  region,  for  in- 
stance, is  a  fright.  But  just  forget  about  the  fu- 
ture! It's  not  here  yet.  Take  each  day  and  each 
run  and  each  chain  that  you  pace  as  it  comes,  and 
you'll  find  it  will  all  work  out.  You'll  have  to  get 
on  to  pacing  and  sketching  contours  first.  That  will 
keep  your  mind  busy  for  the  time  being.  To-morrow 
we'll  try  a  run.  Bob  and  Wetherby  have  cruised 
before,  so  they  can  work  alone,  and  I'll  take  you  out 
with  me.  It  will  be  the  easiest  way  for  you  to  get 
on  to  what  you  need.  You  won't  have  any  trouble 
learning.  Take  my  word  for  it,  in  a  few  weeks 
you'll  look  back  at  to-night  and  laugh  at  yourself!" 

"I  hope  so,"  I  answered,  and  tried  to  speak  con- 
vincingly, though  the  strength  that  conviction  gives 
to  words  was,  I  fear,  wholly  lacking. 


WHEN  Horace  emerged  from  his  tent  in  the  morn- 
ing his  appearance  caused  something  of  a  sensa- 
tion. The  veriest  tyro  in  reconnaissance  knows  that 
lightness  of  apparel  and  accoutrement  is  the  first 
care  of  the  cruiser.  Frazer,  for  example,  besides  his 
instrument  and  notebook,  wore  simply,  shoes  and 
socks,  hat,  shirt,  and  overalls.  Some  of  the  men  car- 
ried a  canteen  and  revolver  as  well.  But  Wetherby 
was  a  picture  in  khaki  riding  breeches  and  knee 
boots,  waterproof  hat  and  heavy  shooting  coat. 
Around  his  waist  was  a  huge  cartridge  belt  filled 
with  ammunition.  ,To  this  were  hung  two  wicked- 
looking  Colt  army  revolvers  and  a  hunting  knife. 
The  capacious  pockets  of  his  coat  bulged  with  medi- 
cine, bandages,  and  condensed  food.  A  canteen  was 
slung  under  each  arm  and  a  rolled  poncho  tied  across 
his  back,  though  the  rainy  season  was  a  month  away. 

Frazer  stared  a  moment,  dumbfounded.  Then  a 
hopeless  look  came  over  his  face  and  he  said  mildly : 

"Aren't  you  giving  away  a  trifle  too  much  weight, 
.Wetherby  1" 

"Oh,  no!"  Horace  assured  him.    "In  Colorado 



I've  often  carried  double  this  amount.    I'm  very 

Nothing  further  was  said,  and  the  tall  cruiser 
strode  off  with  the  rest  of  us  to  our  stations. 

These  cruising  stations,  indicated  by  a  monument 
of  stones  and  a  witness  blaze  on  a  nearby  tree,  on 
which  the  number  of  the  station  and  the  elevation 
are  inscribed,  were  set  every  twenty  chains  along 
the  baseline,  beginning  ten  chains  from  the  first  sec- 
tion corner.  Thus  the  cruiser,  starting  at  a  given 
station  and  running  at  approximately  right  angles 
to  the  baseline,  in  cardinal  directions,  travelled 
through  the  middle  of  a  tier  of  " forties,"  or  forty- 
acre  section  subdivisions.  The  forty  is  the  unit  for 
timber  estimates;  and  by  mapping  and  estimating 
for  ten  chains  on  either  side  of  his  course  as  he  ad- 
vanced, a  man  covered  a  forty-acre  tract  as  often  as 
he  paced  a  quarter  of  a  mile  ahead. 

At  the  end  of  the  outward  trip  he  would  offset 
twenty  chains  from  this  line,  in  a  direction  parallel 
to  the  baseline,  and  cruise  back  through  the  adjoin- 
ing tier  of  forties,  checking  in  at  the  station  beyond 
the  one  from  which  he  started.  Each  run,  there- 
fore, disposed  of  a  strip  of  country  ha'lf  a  mile  wide 
and  as  long  as  the  character  of  the  running  per- 

On  the  day  of  which  I  speak  Bob  Moak  ran  out 
from  stations  one  and  two,  Horace  took  three  and 
four,  while  Frazer  and  I  went  on  to  station  five, 
where  our  work  began.  All  were  east  runs. 


We  had  taken  full  cruiser's  equipment :  'A  Forest 
Service  standard  compass,  "Jacob's  staff,"  aneroid 
barometer  and  notebook;  and  our  first  move  upon 
reaching  our  station  was  to  set  the  aneroids  at  the 
elevation  recorded  there,  ninety-two  hundred  feet. 
Then,  as  we  rested  a  few  moments  before  starting 
out,  we  discussed  the  details  of  the  run. 

I  had  learned  by  now  something  of  the  general 
character  and  methods  of  our  work.  I  knew  that 
reconnaissance  was  a  sort  of  forest  stock-taking — a 
gathering  and  tabulation  of  the  resources  of  the 
forest.  The  timber  estimates  of  the  cruisers,  the 
topographical  maps,  and  the  silvical  data  compiled 
by  our  party,  for  example,  would  serve  as  a  guide 
to  the  Supervisor  in  planning  and  carrying  through 
future  timber  sales  in  the  Black  Eange.  And  when 
all  the  timberland  on  the  Gila  had  been  cruised,  the 
mass  of  information  collected  would  form  the  basis 
for  a  Forest  Working  Plan  outlining  the  policy  of 
management — the  methods  of  administration  advis- 
able in  the  light  of  the  facts  reconnaissance  might 
discover  and  submit. 

This  much  I  knew.  The  process  of  collecting  the 
necessary  data — the  actual  work  of  cruising — was 
Greek  to  me.  And  now  my  initiation  in  that  phase 
of  the  subject  began. 

Frazer  handed  me  a  little  oilcloth-bound  book 
which  just  fitted  in  the  hip  pocket  of  my  overalls. 

"Here's  your  field  notebook,"  he  said. 

On  every  lefthand  page  there  was  printed  a  sec- 


tion  plat,  four  by  four  inches,  ruled  into  sixteen 
squares  representing  forty  acres  each.  At  the  top 
of  the  page  space  was  given  to  note  the  number  of 
the  range,  township,  and  section,  the  name  of  the 
watershed,  the  date,  and  the  initials  of  the  cruiser. 
On  the  righthand  sheet  was  the  form  in  which  tim- 
ber estimates  were  set  down — sixteen  squares  cor- 
responding to  the  forties  of  the  section  plat  whereon 
the  map  was  to  be  made.  Below,  at  the  bottom, 
across  both  pages,  a  place  was  left  for  a  description 
of  the  whole  section;  the  character  of  the  surface 
and  soil,  rock  and  ground  cover,  the  condition  of  the 
range  for  cattle  or  sheep;  the  logging  possibilities; 
the  species,  quality  and  condition  of  the  timber;  the 
extent  of  burned-over  area,  if  any ;  and  other  miscel- 
laneous information  of  silvical  interest. 

"Your  map,"  continued  Frazer,  when  I  had  fin- 
ished examining  the  notebook,  "must  be  drawn  in 
hundred-foot  contours — one  at  every  hundred  feet 
as  you  go  up  or  down.  The  elevation  is  found,  of 
course,  by  your  aneroid.  You  indicate  also  trails, 
roads,  fences,  houses  and  similar  features  whenever 
they  occur,  by  the  symbols  in  the  forest  atlas. 
You'll  just  have  to  learn  them  as  you  go  along — 
they're  easy  enough.  Your  contours  will  give  you 
some  trouble,  though,  at  first.  About  the  best  way 
of  judging  how  they  should  run  is  to  imagine  that  a 
body  of  water  has  risen  to  the  elevation  at  which 
you  stand.  The  shore  line  of  such  a  sea,  seen  for 
ten  chains  on  each  side  of  you,  would  mark  the 


course  of  the  contour  used  to  express  that  eleva- 
tion as  it  extends  through  the  forty  which  you  are 
mapping.  You've  got  to  always  remember  that  a 
forty  is  twenty  chains  square,  and  get  used  to  the 
scale  of  your  map.  Note  how  a  chain,  or  five  or  ten 
chains  look,  when  you  draw  them  to  scale. 

"As  for  the  question  of  estimates,  that,  like  pac- 
ing, is  a  matter  of  practice.  Your  figures  will  all  be 
made  on  this  job  from  an  ocular  estimate.  You've 
got  an  idea  from  our  sample  plot  work  what  timber 
looks  like  when  it  runs  a  thousand,  two  thousand,  or 
whatever  number  of  feet  it  does  run,  to  the  acre. 
As  you  go  through  each  forty  you've  got  to  judge 
the  average  run  for  each  species  in  feet  board  meas- 
ure and  set  it  down  in  its  proper  place  in  your  note- 
book. The  same  holds  good  as  regards  the  descrip- 
tion, only  that's  made  out  for  the  whole  section  in- 
stead of  just  the  forty. 

"But  don't  expect  to  learn  it  all  to-day.  It  will 
be  some  time  before  you  get  the  hang  of  it.  It's 
just  like  other  lines  of  work.  The  only  way  to  learn, 
once  you  know  what  you're  trying  to  do,  is  to  get 
out  and  do  it!" 

With  this  he  stuck  his  iron-shod?  Jacob's  staff  in 
the  ground,  set  up  his  compass  atop  with  the  sights 
set  due  East,  and  off  we  started.  Our  course 
took  us  almost  straight  downward  for  some  four 
hundred  feet  to  a  wooded  draw  in  the  bottom  of  the 
first  canyon.  Then  up  again  over  a  ridge  a  little 
lower  than  the  main  one.  Then  down  again,  then 


up.  The  going  was  hard  and  our  wind  as  yet  none 
of  the  best,  but  we  took  things  easy. 

I  found  pacing  the  hardest  problem  to  solve.  All 
reconnaissance  work  is  done  on  the  basis  of  dis- 
tance as  measured  by  the  cruiser's  steps,  and  in 
mountainous  country  this  is  no  easy  job.  Every 
one,  in  beginning,  has  to  discover  how  many  of  his 
paces  will  carry  him  sixty-six  feet,  or  a  chain — the 
unit  of  measurement — -and  how  much  to  allow  when 
travelling  up  or  down  grades  of  various  degrees  of 
steepness,  since  of  course  only  the  horizontal  or  air 
line  distance  is  considered.  At  first  I  couldn't  get 
it  at  all.  And  my  map,  despite  Frazer's  hints,  was 
hardly  a  thing  of  beauty.  But  before  the  day  was 
done  I  had  learned  what  to  do,  if  not  how  to  do 
it,  and  as  the  hours  passed  I  found  my  timber  esti- 
mate and  contours  were  approaching  Frazer's  some- 
what more  closely  than  in  the  beginning. 

By  noon  we  had  paced  out  a  mile  and  a  half 
through  a  tier  of  six  forties.  We  found  ourselves 
in  a  wooded  canyon  through  which  ran  a  small 
stream,  so  we  improved  the  opportunity  by  halting 
for  lunch  and  a  smoke. 

This  respite  in  the  day's  work  is  one  of  the 
cruiser's  most  cherished  privileges.  Whether  or 
not  the  surroundings  are  as  propitious  as  were  ours 
on  this  first  day's  run  does  not  materially  alter  that 
fact.  Sometimes  one  stops  on  a  brushy  mountain 
side  or  on  the  summit  of  a  lofty  pinnacle  to  stay  the 
faintness  of  hunger  with  his  jam  or  jelly  sandwich 


or  bar  of  chocolate,  for  lunch  is  always  light.  But 
more  often  a  seductive  glade  or  shady  brook  will  lure 
the  cruiser  to  his  hour  of  leisure.  Oblivious  then  of 
the  return  run,  the  long  miles  to  camp,  he  will  sit 
ruminating  pleasantly  while  the  quiet  minutes  float 
away,  <soothed  by  the  ancient  peace  of  the  forest, 
with  only  the  murmuring  of  the  stream  or  the  chat- 
ter of  a  squirrel  or  the  song  of  birds  to  keep  his 
thoughts  company. 

When  Frazer  and  I  started  back  we  found  the 
westward  journey  much  harder  than  the  outward 
trip.  It  was  a  steady  climb  all  the  way.  At  noon 
the  aneroid  recorded  an  elevation  of  8,200.  When 
we  reached  the  baseline  at  half  past  four  we  found 
that  we  had  ascended  to  a  height  of  9,100  feet,  a 
climb  of  almost  a  quarter  of  a  mile. 

We  checked  in  on  station  six.  We  were  three 
chains  too  far  north  and  a  chain  east  of  the  station 
when  we  finished,  fair  pacing  in  rough  country. 

This  checking  in  is  always  an  interesting  climax 
to  the  day's  work.  In  unsurveyed  land  it  is  the  only 
means  a  cruiser  has  of  testing  the  accuracy  of  his 
pacing.  Of  course  compensating  errors  may  some- 
times cause  a  man  to  come  much  nearer  his  station 
than  the  quality  of  his  work  warrants,  but  as  a  rule 
the  practice  is  a  fairly  reliable  criterion  of  the 
cruiser's  proficiency  in  measuring  distance. 

We  rested  a  short  time  before  starting  for  camp. 
I  felt  full  of  energy  and  vigour,  far  fresher  than  in 
the  morning,  as  if  I  could  continue  climbing  moun- 


tains  indefinitely.  I  spoke  of  this  to  Frazer,  who 

"That's  a  pretty  good  sign  youVe  done  enough. 
You're  drawing  on  your  nerves  when  you  feel  so 
light  and  airy.  Every  one  gets  that  way  after  he's 
caught  his  second  wind  and  is  thoroughly  warmed 
up.  But  don't  let  that  fictitious  feeling  of  strength 
fool  you  into  overdoing.  You  can  tell  when  you've 
gone  far  enough  when  you've  had  a  little  more  ex- 
perience in  after  effects." 

If  I  had  taken  this  advice  to  heart  instead  of  let- 
ting it  go  in  one  ear  and  out  of  the  other  I  might 
have  avoided,  a  little  later,  a  very  unpleasant  expe- 

"We  got  to  camp  at  five  o'clock,  just  in  time  for 
supper.  Horace  had  not  yet  arrived.  Nor  did  he 
show  up  till  after  seven,  when  we  were  thinking  of 
sending  out  a  search  party  for  him.  When  he 
finally  appeared  he  walked  slowly  and  heavily,  as  if 
in  the  last  stages  of  exhaustion. 

"The  altitude  got  me,"  he  gasped,  as  he  ap- 
proached, "I've  never  been  affected  this  way  be- 

He  disappeared  into  his  tent  and  groaned  dis- 
mally at  intervals. 

Shortly  afterward  Frazer  called  me  to  one  side. 

"Look  at  this,"  he  exclaimed  disgustedly,  thrust- 
ing Horace's  notebook  into  my  hand.  It  was  a  fear- 
ful and  wonderful  creation  that  Wetherby  offered 
as  a  map.  Even  I  could  see  that  the  meaningless 


lines,  wandering  over  the  page  in  reckless  fashion, 
produced  nothing  but  what  map  men  call  "impos- 
sible country." 

"It  doesn't  look  very  encouraging,"  I  ventured. 

"Encouraging!"  snapped  the  chief,  "it  isn't 
worth  a  damn!  I  don't  believe  Wetherby  ever 
cruised  before  in  his  life.  He  only  ran  out  three 
forties  to-day  and  took  twelve  hours  to  do  it!  It's 
the  limit!" 

"Now  that  I  think  of  it,"  I  said,  "he  never  really 
told  us  he'd  done  any  actual  timber  work.  Most  of 
his  stories  were  rather  vague  in  that  respect,  if  you 

"But  he's  got  all  the  theories,"  shouted  Frazer, 
thoroughly  exasperated,  "he  can  tell  you  all  about 
it.  He  must  have  read  up  on  the  work  before  he 
came  on.  It  makes  me  sick!" 

"What  are  you  going  to  do  about  it?"  I  asked, 
feeling  vaguely  that  Frazer 's  confidences  boded  me 
no  great  good  fortune. 

"Well,"  he  said,  staring  at  me  speculatively, 
"there's  only  one  thing  to  do — you'll  have  to  get 
busy  and  cruise  regularly,  as  soon  as  you  can  learn 
enough  about  it.  I  can't  trust  Wetherby  on  that 
sort  of  work  at  all.  I  was  going  to  put  you  on  the 
baseline  with  the  axe,  but  Wetherby  gets  the  job. 
If  he'll  shed  a  part  of  that  warehouse  he  carries 
around  he  ought  to  be  able  at  least  to  blaze  trees." 

So  next  day,  after  a  mild  "bawling  out,"  which 
Horace  took  with  commendable  meekness,  he  con- 


sented  to  leave  most  of  his  excess  weight  in  camp 
and  shoulder  an  axe  on  the  baseline.  Here  he 
showed  to  slightly  better  advantage.  But  the  har- 
assed expression  which  became  habitual  to  the 
countenances  of  Wallace  and  Conway,  and  the  omi- 
nous silence  in  which  the  baseline  party  filed  into 
camp  evening  after  evening,  led  us  to  suspect,  as 
time  wore  on,  that  Wetherby's  endeavours  were  not 
resulting  in  a  perfection  of  accomplishment. 


UNDER  the  constant  coaching  of  Frazer  I  was  gradu- 
ally broken  in  to  cruising.  The  work  was  fatiguing, 
particularly  while  one  was  growing  accustomed  to 
the  change  in  altitude,  but  presently  this  wore  off 
and  I  found  that  the  daily  run  was  becoming  a  fas- 
cinating experience.  The  constant  change  of  scene, 
the  magnificent  views,  the  sense  of  exploration  and 
the  occasional  hazards  encountered  effectually  pre- 
cluded the  possibility  of  failing  interest.  Each  new 
day  brought  forth  its  fresh  adventures,  so  that  the 
time  passed,  for  the  most  part,  easily  and  with  the 
speed  of  thought. 

There  was,  however,  one  phase  of  our  work  that 
had  not  seemed  in  prospect  especially  disagreeable, 
but  which  I  found  at  first  very  difficult  to  get  used 
to.  This  was  the  necessity  under  which  each  cruiser 
lay  of  working  alone  all  day.  Like  most  of  us  I 
had  all  my  life  been  with,  or  at  least  near,  other 
people  every  hour  of  the  twenty-four.  For  weeks 
now  I  left  my  companions  each  morning  with  a  dis- 
tinct distaste  for  revelling  in  my  own  company  till 
evening.  There  was  an  initial  strangeness  about 
finding  oneself  utterly  and  entirely  alone  in  the  f  or- 



es-t,  miles  from  camp,  out  of  sight  and  out  of  hear- 
ing of  any  human  being,  that  was  disgracefully  like 
fear.  The  situation  called  forth  qualities  which  a 
gregarious  existence  had  well-nigh  atrophied. 

But  Time,  the  master  magician,  calmed  weakened 
nerves  and  developed  latent  forces  till  new  habits 
were  formed  to  fit  the  new  circumstances.  I  felt, 
day  by  day,  that  I  was  gaining  in  self-dependence 
and  poise.  It  was  not  necessary,  after  a  while,  to 
lean  on  the  personality  of  another,  to  find  content- 
ment only  in  the  physical  presence  of  one's  fellows. 

Nay,  more!  Before  the  season  ended,  I  found 
myself  relying  upon  this  daily  spiritual  bath  of  si- 
lence. A  strange  serenity  grew  within  me — a  quiet 
fostered  by  the  constant  close  contact  with  nature. 
The  eternal  peace  of  the  dim-aisled  forest,  wistful 
and  brooding,  lay  like  a  chrism  upon  the  soul.  On 
some  lonely  peak,  dominating  a  world  outspread 
below,  the  spirit  leapt  forth  and  spread  silver  wings 
to  meet  the  glory  of  those  majestic  mountain  soli- 

Despite  the  fact  that  use  bred  in  us  a  disregard 
of  the  danger  element  in  this  individual  cruising,  a 
considerable  hazard  remained.  A  loosened  rock  or 
slippery  tree  trunk,  an  unseen  crevice  or  crumbling 
ledge — any  one  of  a  hundred  mischances — could 
easily  cause  an  accident  that  might  result  seriously 
indeed  before  one  could  be  found  and  cared  for.  An 
instance  of  just  this  sort  of  thing  occurred  before 
we  had  been  out  a  week,  and,  though  soon  forgotten, 


gave  some  of  us  at  the  time  considerable  food  for 
thought.  Bob  Moak,  as  I  have  said,  had  the  best  of 
the  others  of  the  party  both  in  years  and  timber  ex- 
perience. He  was,  indeed,  beginning  to  feel  the 
strain  of  too  long-continued  and  excessive  effort. 
His  hair  was  grey  and  scant;  on  his  legs,  from  knee 
to  ankle,  bunches  of  varicose  veins  stood  out  def  orm- 
ingly.  He  was  growing  old  at  fifty,  the  day  of  his 
ultimate  retirement  not  so  many  years  away. 

Though  he  would  have  fought  at  the  suggestion, 
the  old  cruiser  found  it  increasingly  difficult  to  make 
his  runs  between  dawn  and  dark.  Some  men,  faced 
by  this  dilemma,  would  have  "cut  corners" — sat  on 
some  hill  within  sight  of  camp  and  "dreamed  in" 
the  map  contours  and  the  timber  estimates.  There 
have  been  instances,  rare  of  course,  of  such  a  pro- 

But  Bob  was  not  that  breed.  Sometimes  he  came 
into  camp  as  late  as  seven  or  eight  at  night,  having 
worked  since  six  in  the  morning;  but  his  maps  were 
always  accurate,  his  estimates  closer  than  those  of 
any  other  man  in  the  outfit.  Always  on  such  oc- 
casions, to  save  his  pride,  he  made  light  of  these  late 
homecomings,  saying,  perhaps,  with  a  pathetic  at- 
tempt at  jocularity,  "Well,  I  shore  overslept  to-day. 
Took  a  nap  right  after  lunch  and  never  woke 
up  till  four  o'clock.  I'll  have  to  git  me  an  alarm 
clock  t'  take  along,  I  reckon." 

One  night  he  failed  to  show  up  at  all.  A  search 
was  suggested  late  in  the  evening. 


"We  might  as  well  wait  until  morning  now,"  de- 
cided Frazer;  "I  don't  think  there's  anything  to 
worry  about.  Bob's  pretty  careful.  Probably  he 
got  caught  by  darkness  and  thought  he'd  better  lay 
out  over  night.  With  a  fire  it  isn't  much  of  a  hard- 

So  we  postponed  action  till  next  day,  when  all  of 
us  but  the  baseline  crowd  set  out  early  to  hunt  for 
the  missing  cruiser.  Two  parties  were  formed,  one 
to  follow  Bob's  outward  line,  east  from  his  first  sta- 
tion, the  other  to  begin  at  the  second  station  and 
run  out  the  line  along  which  he  should  have  made  his 
return  run. 

Frazer,  Wallace  and  myself  formed  the  second 
party,  which  proved  the  more  successful  of  the  two, 
for  we  found  our  man  before  we  had  gone  a  mile. 

He  was  seated  at  the  bottom  of  a  rock  slide,  in  a 
little  canyon,  smoking  his  pipe  and  gazing  with  im- 
mense disgust  at  his  left  leg,  which  was  evidently  out 
of  commission. 

Before  we  could  question  him  in  regard  to  his  ac- 
cident he  removed  the  corncob  pipe  from  his  mouth 
and  inquired  truculently,  "Got  any  whiskey?" 

We  produced  the  flask  brought  for  just  such  an 
emergency  and  the  injured  man  took  a  long  drink, 
wiped  his  lips  on  the  back  of  his  hand  and  said : 

"Reckon  you  all  think  I'm  goin'  into  my  second 
childhood,  hey?" 

"How  did  it  happen?"  queried  Frazer. 

"I  just  natchelly  slipped,"  replied  Moak.    "I 


w  rt 

Q   M 


CO     c 


O    bo 

pi,    a 
>*    * 


was  crossing  this  here  rock  slide,  up  the  side  th' 
mountain  a  piece.  She  started  down  and  I  come 
with  her.  That  there's  about  how  it  happened. 
When  I  picks  myself  out  of  the  debriss  I  finds  this 
leg  like  she  is  now.  Eeckon  hit's  strained  a  mite. 
So  I  set  here  an'  waited  for  you  all.  Lucky  I  landed 
by  a  stream  and  had  a  plenty  of  tobacco  with  me,  or 
I  might-a-tried  to  crawl  in,  an'  that  wouldn't-a-been 

We  made  a  crutch  for  Bob  after  a  little  and  by 
dint  of  much  " boosting,"  and  frequent  rests,  he 
managed  to  make  camp  in  a  couple  of  hours. 

But  it  was  a  week  or  more  before  he  could  use  his 
leg  at  all  and  some  time  longer  before  he  cruised 
regularly  again. 

The  incident  brought  home  to  us  the  necessity  of 
constant  watchfulness  while  alone  in  the  hills.  It 
didn't  take  a  very  great  stretch  of  imagination  to 
picture  situations  far  worse  than  that  into  which 
Bob  had  been  thrust. 


HORACE,  it  was  plain,  however  the  others  felt,  highly 
approved  of  his  new  position  on  the  baseline.  He 
went  at  his  task  zestfully,  bearing  his  axe  aloft  as  if 
it  had  been  a  sceptre,  and  attacking  trees  and  brush 
with  a  headlong  fury  that  threatened  annihilation  to 
the  forest.  What  mattered  it  that  the  swath  he 
cleared  through  the  woods  was  yards  off  the  line,  or 
if  he  at  times  dwelt  so  long  upon  the  beautifying 
of  a  station  monument  that  his  companions  were 
half  a  mile  ahead  before  he  finished.  Horace  was 
having  a  lovely  time ;  that  was  sufficient. 

We  wouldn't  have  minded  this  attitude — those  of 
us,  that  is,  who  were  not  working  on  the  baseline — 
if  Horace  had  only  kept  his  peculiar  ideas  to  him- 
self. But  he  displayed  a  sort  of  irritating  air  of 
superiority  about  camp  which  irked  us  considerably. 
Personal  foibles  which  one  can  tolerate  or  dismiss 
with  a  laugh  in  town  assume  entirely  different  pro- 
portions in  the  woods.  Conceit  or  egotism — any 
trait,  in  fact,  which  tends  to  infringe  upon  another's 
personality — acts  with  the  cumulative  force  of  drop- 
ping water.  Before  long  the  most  adamantine  self- 
control  is  worn  away  in  the  process. 



There  was  no  doubt  that  Horace,  when  it  came  to 
the  sort  of  education  derived  from  books,  was,  de- 
spite his  youth,  by  far  the  most  learned  individual 
in  the  outfit.  Our  erudite  friend's  vocabulary  asked 
no  odds  of  "Noah  Webster,  his  Dictionary."  And 
his  familiarity  with  almost  every  branch  of  theoreti- 
cal knowledge  was  really  astonishing.  As  a  result 
of  these  considerations,  our  talks  around  the  camp 
fire  threatened  at  first  to  develop  into  a  series  of 
monologues,  with  Wetherby  taking  on  every  occa- 
sion the  speaking  part. 

Now,  this  was  not  at  all  according  to  Hoyle.  In 
the  woods  the  evening  "pow-wow"  is  an  ancient  and 
well  established  institution.  Immemorial  custom 
prescribes  the  etiquette  for  such  gatherings.  Bert, 
Bob  Moak  and  the  packers,  for  example,  never  spoke 
except  for  the  purpose  of  expressing  an  idea — and 
then  briefly.  While  not  conducive  to  fluent  conver- 
sation, this  practice  usually  enables  each  member  of 
a  party  to  have  his  say,  with  perhaps  some  time  left 
to  indulge  in  silent  reflection.  Then  again,  when  a 
person  is  speaking,  it  is  considered  proper  to  allow 
him  to  finish  without  interruption,  and  even  to  pause 
a  moment — a  delicate  tribute  to  the  weight  of  his 
words — before  replying. 

Horace's  methods  were  different.  He  talked  for 
the  sake  of  talking,  for  exercise,  for  effect,  for  the 
mere  luxury  of  guiding  a  mellifluous  flow  of  words 
into  the  night.  Now  and  again,  when  out  of  breath, 
he  paused,  but  if  any  one  else  attempted  to  voice  an 


idea  or  a  sentiment  he  had  no  compunction  whatever 
about  breaking  in  and  continuing  the  thread  of  his 

This  sort  of  thing  was  unpleasant.  We  suggested 
as  much  to  Horace  on  various  occasions,  but  with- 
out apparent  effect.  It  was  evident  that  if  we  were 
to  enjoy  our  evenings  at  all  some  more  radical  action 
must  be  taken.  But  no  one  felt  like  starting  a  real 
fight.  Quarrels  in  camp  are  about  the  last  thing 
to  be  desired ;  resorted  .to,  if  at  all,  only  in  an  ex- 

We  felt,  however,  that  in  Horace's  case  there  could 
be  but  one  result.  And  true  enough  before  many 
days  the  inevitable  explosion  occurred. 

It  came  about  this  way.  The  constant  wielding 
of  a  four  pound  axe  had  made  of  Horace  a  mighty 
trencherman.  One  evening,  when  he  had  twice  made 
the  round  of  the  table  for  supplies,  a  thought  struck 

"It  appears  to  me,"  he  suggested  to  Frazer,  "that 
Bert  ought  to  wait  on  us  and  eat  afterward.  I've 
always  been  accustomed  to  being  waited  upon." 

Frazer  stopped  short  in  the  act  of  swallowing  and 
stared  at  him  to  see  if  he  were  really  in  earnest. 

Waiting  on  oneself  at  table  is  an  invariable  camp 
usage  in  the  Southwest.  The  cook,  indeed,  as  the 
most  indispensable  member  of  the  party,  holds  a 
position  a  little  superior  to  that  of  the  chief.  He  is 
accorded  marked  consideration,  treated  with  a 
special  and  particular  brand  of  courtesy,  for  upon 


his  humour  depends  always  the  happiness,  often  the 
health,  of  the  whole  party.  Not  the  least  of  Bert's 
excellencies  were  his  even  temper  and  his  cheerful- 
ness, where  so  many  of  his  professional  brethren  are 
moody,  irritable  or  sulky.  But  he  was  not  on  this 
account  the  less  inclined  to  uphold  the  dignity  of  his 
position,  or  to  resent  any  attempt  to  "run  it  over 

At  Horace's  heretical  remark,  therefore,  our  eyes 
turned  fearfully  to  the  cook,  who  was  eating  outside 
under  a  tree.  He  had  not  heard. 

Then  Conway,  who  particularly  detested  Horace, 
perhaps  because  he  saw  more  of  him  than  any  one 
else,  did  a  malicious  thing. 

"Why  don't  you  call  Bert's  attention  to  the  over- 
sight?" he  suggested. 

Every  member  of  the  circle  held  his  breath,  while 
Horace  cleared  his  throat  and  called  loftily: 

"Oh,  Bert!" 

It  was  a  plain  summons  to  attend,  but  Bert,  who 
had  never  admired  Horace  on  general  principles, 
merely  grunted  "Hunh?"  and  went  on  eating. 

His  interlocutor,  a  little  nettled,  thereupon  com- 
manded the  cook  in  well  chosen  terms  to  arise  forth- 
with and  render  him  personal  service  in  the  matter 
of  supplying  "spuds,  spoonvittles  and  frijoles."  It 
took  Bert  a  moment  to  resolve  Horace's  demand  into 
its  simple  elements  but  when  he  did  the  rapidity  of 
his  actions  made  up  for  the  tardiness  of  his  mental 


He  leapt  to  his  feet,  seized  a  large  soup  ladle  in 
one  hand  and  advancing  in  front  of  Horace  shook 
the  other  violently  in  his  face. 

" Ain't  you  able  to  wait  on  yourself,  you  big 
stiff  V9  he  yelled  in  a  frenzy  of  rage.  "D'you  take 

me  for  a wet  nurse,  stannin'  round  f  eedin' 

you!  I'm  a  great  mind  to  knock  the  top  of  your 

head  off,  right  now,  and  see  what  kind  of  a 

fillin'  you  got  in  there. " 

Horace  was  nonplussed  but  rallied  gallantly. 

"Now  see  here,  my  man,"  he  retorted,  in  a  voice 
which  he  strove  to  render  cold  and  steely,  "have  a 
care.  A  certain  person  died  once  for  less  than  you 
have  said!" 

It  was  an  awfully  feeble  bluff.  Bert  had  called 
many  more  difficult  in  the  games  both  of  poker  and 
of  life.  That  "my  man"  phrase  seemed  to  get  him, 
too.  Without  a  moment's  hesitation  he  whacked 
Horace  over  the  head  with  the  ladle  and  followed  the 
blow  with  as  ably  selected  an  assortment  of  profane 
insult  and  invective  as  I,  at  least,  had  ever  heard. 
He  charged  him  with  ignorance,  cowardice,  immo- 
rality, arson,  burglary,  and  obtaining  money  under 
false  pretences.  He  referred  to  him  directly  andi 
indirectly  in  so  many  different  ways  as  a  person  un- 
fit by  birth,  heredity,  and  education  for  association 
with  honest  men,  that  we  blushed  involuntarily  for 
the  offender  and  his  presence  in  our  midst. 

Bert  ceased  only  when  exhausted.    He  glared 


fiercely  at  his  wilted  opponent.  Horace  was  com- 
pletely overwhelmed. 

' ' Bert,"  he  said  at  length,  in  a  conciliatory  tone, 
"I  don't  wish  to  have  any  trouble  with  you.  But  if 
you're  going  to  fly  up  like  this  all  the  time  I  don't 
see  how  we  can  get  along  at  all." 

A  general  laugh  ensued.  The  cook  with  an  excla- 
mation of  disgust  returned  to  his  meal  and  the  ex- 
citement died  gradually  away. 


THE  last  remnant  of  the  awe  Horace  had  at  first  in- 
spired in  us  vanished  with  the  "Episode  of  the  Irate 
Cook."  The  unexpressed  antagonism  toward  him, 
which  had  heretofore  made  his  presence  a  constant 
irritant,  disappeared.  He  was  looked  upon  hence- 
forth as  a  joke,  tolerated  on  the  condition  of  com- 
plete self-effacement,  and  squelched  promptly  and 
openly  whenever  he  appeared  in  danger  of  forget- 
ting this  tacit  arrangement. 

As  a  result  our  nightly  camp-fire  confabs  became 
much  more  enjoyable  gatherings.  Those  intimate 
evenings  stand  out  in  memory  as  perhaps  the  pleas- 
antest  phase  of  the  season's  work. 

Bygone  camp-fire  talks  long  past,  how  clearly,  with 
what  a  warmth  of  detail,  do  they  recur  in  recol- 
lection I  I  can  see  now,  in  my  mind's  eye,  the  very 
scene — the  camp  and  the  familiar  faces  and  the  fire 
burning  lower  and  lower  as  the  minutes  pass. 

Supper  is  finished,  and  a  feeling  of  indolent  peace 
and  contentment  steals  over  us  with  the  lighting  of 
pipes  and  the  relaxation  of  tired  limbs.  Sitting  on 
logs  or  stretched  full  length  on  the  ground  before 
the  gleaming  embers,  we  muse  and  talk;  lazily  argu- 
ing, spinning  yarns,  dreaming  dreams.  The  faces 



flush  or  darken  in  the  flickering  light,  there  sounds 
the  slow,  gentle  drawl  of  a  reminiscent  voice,  the 
quick,  hearty  laughter  at  a  point  well  made,  a  shaft 
well  driven,  the  "  puff  -puff "  of  pipes,  the  slowly  ex- 
pelled smoke,  hovering  a  moment,  caught  up  in  the 
column  of  the  fire,  languidly  whirling  and  dissolv- 
ing— incense  to  the  spirit  of  fellowship,  to  the  com- 
munion of  minds  and  hearts. 

Now  old  Bob  Moak  is  talking,  in  his  slow,  deliber- 
ate way.  With  crude,  broad  strokes  he  pictures  to 
us  life  as  it  was  in  his  youth  in  the  Northwest,  among 
the  lumber  camps.  Tales  of  wild  men  and  wild 
lives  with  the  sombre  background  of  the  fateful, 
illimitable  forest.  There  is  little  eloquence,  no  at- 
tempt at  theatricals  or  pose.  Yet  often  one  shud- 
ders involuntarily  at  the  stark  brutality  of  the  inci- 
dents related  and  thrills  with  the  pathos  and  heroism 
of  some  awkwardly  developed  story  of  naked  cruelty, 
of  magnanimity,  of  high  courage. 

Now  Brown,  the  Texan,  deplores  the  passing  of 
the  good  old  days  when  the  whole  West  was  a  cattle 
range,  when  men  lived  largely  and  without  restraint. 
In  a  high  nasal  voice  he  sings  interminable  cowboy 
ballads  of  " Black  Jack  Davy,"  of  "Little  Joe  the 
Wrangler"  and  of  others  whose  names  and  fates  I 
have  forgotten. 

Now  Frazer  tells  of  the  Forest  Service,  of  his 
adventures  in  divers  states,  or  of  early  struggles,  not 
so  many  years  ago,  to  enforce  the  .Government's 
regulations  on  range  and  in  forest. 


It  was  curious  to  note,  as  each  one's  individual  at- 
titude was  revealed,  how  variously  the  facts  and 
phenomena  of  life  were  interpreted.  Bob  and  Bert 
and  Brown  were  frankly  materialists.  A  lifetime  of 
labour,  a  constant  struggle  with  men  and  circum- 
stances, had  dealt  them  the  strength  and  limitations 
of  their  type.  Courage,  energy,  self-reliance — these 
they  possessed  to  an  admirable  degree.  But  be- 
yond the  world  of  obvious  things,  into  the  realm  of 
the  abstract  or  the  spiritual,  they  had  no  conscious 
desire  to  penetrate.  Of  such  matters  they  would 
not  even  argue,  but  remained  indifferent  if  those 
subjects  were  broached,  smilingly  intrenched  behind 
the  seeming  invulnerability  of  sense  experience. 

Horace,  when  permitted,  gave  us  the  conventional 
theories  concerning  any  subject  upon  the  tapis.  But 
his  ideas  were  so  obviously  second-hand,  mere  re- 
productions of  the  thoughts  of  others,  that  we  made 
use  of  his  knowledge  more  as  a  matter  of  reference 
or  as  a  basis  for  argument  than  for  any  intrinsic 
value  it  might  possess. 

Wallace  and  Ewing  seldom  joined  in  the  talk. 
Wallace  was  far  more  interested  in  a  girl  back  East 
than  in  any  entertainment  we  could  offer.  All  his 
time  outside  working  hours  was  devoted  to  a  silent 
contemplation  of  her  excellencies.  [We  never  looked 
for  much  from  him,  therefore,  save  a  smiling,  ab- 
sent-minded acquiescence  whenever  directly  ap- 
pealed to. 

Nor  did  Ewing  enter  extensively  into  any  of  our 


discussions.  His  personality  and  attitude  had 
piqued  my  curiosity  more  than  once.  Indeed,  the 
non-committal  youth  with  the  sensitive  features  and 
the  punctilious  manners  was  a  mystery  to  all.  His 
past  was  unknown.  His  very  name,  rumour  whis- 
pered, was  assumed.  But  this  is  not  uncommon  in 
New  Mexico,  even  in  our  effete  generation  and  it  is 
not  considered  the  part  of  wisdom  to  remark  upon 
any  such  eccentricity. 

Since  his  departure  from  Hillsboro  the  packer- 
musician  had  appeared  distrait  and  ill  at  ease,  at 
times  dejected  and  at  times  restless  and  nervous. 
We  thought  perhaps  that  he  felt  uneasy  without  his 
violin,  which,  to  our  disappointment,  he  had  in- 
sisted on  leaving  behind.  Brown,  however,  main- 
tained that  his  partner  " missed  his  licker,"  and  that 
it  was  only  a  question  of  days  before  he  would  be  im- 
pelled by  his  inner  craving  to  go  "on  one"  again. 


As  time  passed  speculation  on  our  part  concerning 
Ewing  increased  rather  than  diminished.  The 
packer  was  without  doubt  a  mystery.  His  face  and 
bearing,  his  manner  and  his  diction,  certain  telltale 
traits  which  stamped  him  as  a  man  from  another 
sphere  of  life — things  incongruous  with  his  assumed 
character  and  present  occupation — whetted  our  curi- 
osity and  aroused  an  interest  in  his  personality 
which  it  was  plain  he  by  no  means  sought. 

Twenty  times  a  day  I  puzzled  over  the  matter. 
What  rash  act,  what  error,  or  what  misfortune,  had 
brought  Ewing  to  this  pass:  A  burro  puncher  at 
sixty  dollars  per  month,  and  prone  to  frequent  in- 

That  was  it,  perhaps — drink !  But  then  drinking, 
until  it  becomes  itself  a  disease,  is  so  often  merely 
a  symptom  of  some  other,  prior,  deeper  disturbance. 
Ewing  did  not  strike  one  as  a  dipsomaniac.  He 
seemed  rather  to  make  use  of  whiskey  as  a  weapon 
against  the  virus  of  ennui  or  against  his  own  more 
poisonous  thoughts. 

No,  I  decided,  drink  alone  was  not  his  bete  noire. 
[What  then?  Often  I  itched  to  question  him,  but  the 



reserve  of  the  even-voiced,  impassive  packer  was  in- 
variably impenetrable. 

The  chances  are  that  I  would  have  left  the  hills 
no  more  enlightened  in  regard  to  the  subject  of  my; 
constant  conjectures  than  when  I  began  the  season, 
had  it  not  been  for  an  accident  which  had  the  effect 
of  at  length  unlocking  the  door  of  Swing's  confi- 

It  happened  this  way.  Coming  in  from  a  run  one 
afternoon  I  encountered  the  packer,  who  was  out 
hunting  burros.  We  continued  together,  he  riding 
ahead  and  I  following  on  foot  along  the  narrow  trail. 
At  one  place  the  path  wound  along  the  edge  of  an 
ugly  cliff,  some  two  hundred  feet  high.  Here,  as 
luck  would  have  it,  we  ran  slap  into  a  nest  of  yel- 
low jackets. 

This  was  bad  enough  in  itself,  but  to  make  mat- 
ters worse  Swing's  horse,  frantic  with  pain,  reared, 
leaped,  and  pitched  so  violently  that  his  rider,  though 
an  expert  horseman,  had  all  he  could  do  to  keep 
astride  the  maddened  animal.  Twice  they  swung 
dangerously  near  the  edge  of  the  bluff  and  each  time 
Ewing  brought  his  mount  around  and  with  quirt  and 
spur  drove  him  from  the  abyss. 

Again  the  ticklish  manoeuvre  was  repeated,  the 
horse  whirling,  pivot-like,  upon  the  very  brink  of 
the  precipice.  This  time  he  swerved  too  close  to  the 
edge.  As  he  turned,  rearing,  the  soft  rock  beneath 
his  feet  crumbled  and  gave;  his  hind  quarters  slid 
slowly  back  and  downward.  I  ,saw;  the  haunches 


drop,  the  head,  with  staring,  strained  eyes,  thrust 
forward,  the  forefeet  drumming  wildly.  My  eyes 
sought  Ewing's  face.  It  was  calm  and  still  as  the 
rocks  about.  He  seemed  in  no  way  altered  by  the 
extreme  hazard  of  the  moment,  but  sat  leaning  for- 
ward, slightly  to  one  side,  talking  to  the  struggling 
horse  beneath  him. 

"Easy,  Bob,"  I  heard  him  murmur,  "don't  get 
foolish !  Easy,  now,  boy ! ' ' 

Then  I  came  out  of  my  daze.  I  jumped  forward, 
grabbed  the  roan's  bridle  and  pulled  with  all  my 
strength.  A  heave,  a  quick,  fierce  scramble,  and 
horse  and  rider  were  safe.  Ewing  grinned  cheer- 
fully and  patted  his  mount's  neck. 

"Much  obliged,"  he  nodded  to  me.  "I  sure 
thought  we  were  goners  that  time." 

I  was  somewhat  exasperated. 

"You  must  be  crazy!  You  could  have  jumped  at 
first.  Why  didn't  you  get  off  when  you  had  a 
chance?  You  might  just  as  well  be  there  at  the  bot- 
tom as  up  here,  except  for  a  piece  of  good  luck." 

"Luck I"  he  laughed  whimsically.  "Well,  per- 
haps it  was.  I've  always  had  plenty  of  good  luck 
—of  that  sort!" 

The  cynicism  of  his  remark  was  unmistakable. 

"If  that's  the  way  you  look  at  it,"  I  said,  "you 
can  drop  off  and  be  smashed  next  time.  I  wish  I'd 
known  you  wanted  to  commit  suicide!" 

His  singular  humour  left  my  companion  abruptly. 
His  voice  grew  grave,  with  a  winning  sincerity. 


" Don't  mind  my  foolishness,  please !"  he  said. 
"Really,  I'm  more  than  grateful  for  what  you  did. 
You  saved  my  life,  I  think.  If  there  were  any  pos- 
sible way  I  could  show  my  gratitude  I'd  be  only  too 
glad  to  do  so." 

"You  might  tell  me,"  I  said,  on  the  impulse  of 
the  moment,  "what  you  meant  just  now  by  that  re- 
mark about  your  luck?" 

Ewing  glanced  at  me  sharply. 

"That's  a  matter  which  I  don't  care  to  talk 

"Oh,  very  well!"  I  answered,  and  that  was  all. 

We  were  rather  silent  for  the  rest  of  the  journey 
to  camp  nor  did  either  of  us  refer  again  to  the  topic 
so  summarily  dismissed. 

But  after  supper,  as  I  sat  alone  in  front  of  my 
tent,  the  violinist  crossed  over  and  flung  himself  on 
the  ground  beside  me. 

"I  was  a  little  short  this  afternoon,"  he  began, 
"and  I'm  sorry  I  spoke  as  I  did.  I  hope  you're  not 

"Of  course  not!" 

"Well,  I'm  glad  of  that.  I  often  think  I'm  get- 
ting morbid  on  certain  subjects.  Things  have  hap- 
pened th'at — well — I  thought  you  were  trying  to — 
that  you  were  getting  curious." 

"You  were  right,"  I  interrupted.  "I  was  curi- 
ous about  you,  Ewing.  To  be  frank,  I  can't  see  why 
a  man  of  your  obvious  education  and  talents  should 


be  holding  down  the  job  you  are.  But  my  feeling 
was  a  little  more  than  mere  inquisitiveness.  It's 
fairly  evident  that  you  must  have  had  some  hard 
luck,  and  I  suppose  I  wanted  to  find  out  what  the 
trouble  was,  and  try  to  understand,  if  I  could — and 
perhaps  help,  if  that  was  possible.  That  was  what 
was  in  my  mind." 

Ewing  smoked  in  silence  for  a  moment. 

"Damn  it!"  he  burst  out,  "there's  no  reason  why 
you  shouldn't  know.  I'd  like  to  tell  you." 

He  talked  for  a  long  time,  unconscious  of  the  pass- 
ing moments.  Bit  by  bit  the  snarl  of  his  unhappy 
history  was  untangled.  There  was  no  smooth  nar- 
rative of  events — just  a  halting,  broken  recital,  stum- 
bling in  the  darkness,  through  clenched  teeth.  A. 
story  as  old  as  the  world,  but  new  to  each  whose  life 
it  enters, 

Ewing  was  not  his  real  name.  His  family  is  well- 
known.  As  a  boy,  the  packer  said,  his  talent  for 
music  was  encouraged.  He  developed  rapidly,  and 
so  long  as  his  skill  did  not  pass  the  limits  of  a  mere 
accomplishment,  the  family  was  well  content.  But 
when  they  understood  that  he  meant  mastery  of  the 
violin  to  be  his  life's  work  objection  arose.  His 
father  cajoled  and  threatened.  Dilettantism  the 
gentleman  understood — it  was  a  tenet  of  his  creed. 
Professionalism  was  tabooed. 

It  ended  in  the  boy's  leaving  home  abruptly  with 
the  avowed  purpose  of  making  a  living  by  his  violin. 


In  this  he  succeeded  after  a  fashion,  and  as  time 
passed  he  grew  successful.  A  career  seemed  pos- 

In  the  meantime  he  married.  A  mere  girl,  pretty, 
unsophisticated,  affectionate  but  utterly  ignorant  of 
the  responsibilities  she  was  incurring — that  was  how. 
Ewing  described  his  wife.  They  never  got  on  to- 
gether after  the  first  flush  faded.  They  quarrelled 
and  made  up  and  quarrelled  again  and  then  came, 
suddenly,  the  demolition  of  their  house  of  cards. 

"I  blame  myself,"  said  my  companion,  "I  blame 
myself  more  than  Millie.  She  was  used  to  atten- 
tion. And  I  thought  of  nothing  but  my  music — my- 
self. One  night  I  came  in  late — I'd  played  that 
night — and  found  she  had  gone.  She  left  a  note — 
a  few  words  only.  She'd  met  some  one,  she  said, 
who'd  be  kind  to  her. 

"I  took  it  pretty  hard.  I  was  half -mad,  I  think, 
for  a  time.  I  forgot  my  violin,  my  career,  every- 
thing. I  hit  up  the  booze  till  I  got  to  be  a  wreck. 
I  began  to  inquire  around  and  finally  located  the 
man  my  wife  had  run  off  with.  He  was  a  fellow 
named  Donohue,  a  broncho  buster  with  one  of  the 
Wild  West  outfits — sort  of  a  tough  proposition,  from 
all  accounts.  But  he  must  have  cared  for  Millie — 
there  wasn't  any  other  reason  for  taking  her  away. 

"Finally  I  started  out  to  find  them.  I'd  drink  a 
while,  then  work  some;  then  whenever  I  found  a 
clue,  I'd  follow  after.  They  found  out  about  it  and 
Donohue  deserted  my  wife.  kThat  made  me  glad. 


I  was  glad  she  suffered — poor  little  girl !  .  .  .  Well, 
I  found  lier  finally.  .  .  .  She'd  died  the  night  be- 
fore I  reached  her.  I  buried  her  and  swore  on  her 
grave  to  find  the  blackguard  that  left  her  to  die  and 
kill  him.  .  .  .  And  all  the  time  I'd  as  good  as  mur- 
dered her  myself!" 

Ewing  stopped  and  bit  on  his  pipestem  till  the 
hard  rubber  snapped. 

"Yes,  I  murdered  her,"  he  went  on  at  length,  in 
a  husky  whisper.  "It  came  to  me  after  a  time — 
a  long,  hard  time.  And  now — now  I  can't  tell  her ! ' ' 

"Perhaps,  in  some  other  life — " 

"Oh,  I've  thought  of  that,"  broke  in  the  packer. 
"But  some  other  life  isn't  this  one — and  it's  in  this 
one  I  killed  her,  with  my  damned  selfishness.  No! 
I've  got  to  take  my  medicine,  as  she  took  hers  and, 
by  God,  as  Donohue'll  take  his  when  I  get  him!" 

He  seemed  on  the  verge  of  a  breakdown. 

"Have  you  had  any  trace  of  Donohue?'*'  I  asked. 

"He's  in  the  Rio  Grande  Valley  somewhere,  right 
now,"  said  Ewing,  more  quietly.  "I  don't  know 
where,  but  he's  hiding  somewhere.  He  knows  I'll 
get  him.  I  was  broke  when  this  job  came  along,  so  I 
took  it  for  a  grub  stake.  When  I'm  through.  ..." 

He  shook  himself  and  rose  abruptly,  and  his  old 
manner  returned. 

"It's  good  of  you  to  listen  to  all  this,"  he  said, 
"and  it's  helped  me.  Some  times  I've  thought  I'd 
go  insane.  It's  helped  a  whole  lot  just  telling  some 
one  about  it.  I  think  I'll  turn  in." 


We  shook  hands  and  parted  for  the  night.  And 
above  us  the  wise,  impassive  stars  gazed  down  as 
they  did  in  the  beginning  and  smiled  with  shining 
faces  on  the  world  below,  impartially  and  unac- 


THE  first  camp  at  Sawyer's  Peak  sheltered  us  for 
some  little  time.  We  ran  the  baseline  five  miles 
north,  cruising  both  east  and  west,  then  started 
again  at  camp  and  began  to  work  south.  We  finished 
the  Percha  Creek  watershed  in  a  week,  then  moved 
three  miles  to  the  head  of  Trujillo  Canyon,  which 
runs  in  a  southeasterly  direction  to  the  Eio  Grande. 
Then  south  again  two  miles  to  Tierra  Blanca,  an  ex- 
ceptionally rough  watershed  also  draining  to  the 

I  had  been  cruising  steadily  during  this  time,  since 
that  first  run  with  Frazer,  and  was  quite  elated  at 
the  comparative  ease  with  which  I  picked  up  the 
knack  of  pacing  and  plotting  contours.  I  began  to 
feel  myself  a  seasoned  man.  No  run  was  too  difficult 
to  undertake,  no  stretch  of  country  impossible  to 
traverse.  This  state  of  mind  was  of  course  a  result 
of  inexperience.  And  it  was  one  day  thoroughly 
eradicated  by  an  adventure  which  I  recall  even  now 
with  particular  distaste. 

One  morning  we  started  east  from  the  baseline 
with  instructions  to  run  as  far  as  the  timber  ex- 
tended— that  is,  if  we  were  able. 



The  country  was  typical  of  the  locality — rough, 
brushy  and  precipitous.  Four  to  six  forties  out 
made  a  good  average  run. 

As  I  left  for  my  station  Frazer  called  jokingly: 

" Looks  like  you've  got  the  post  of  honour  to-day! 
You  ought  to  get  some  mean  going.  Get  out  as  far 
as  you  can,  but  don't  overdo  it!" 

In  my  cocky  mood  this  sounded  very  much  like  a 
challenge  to  performance  and  I  started  out  with  the 
firm  intention  of  reaching  the  edge  of  timber  if  it 
extended  ten  miles.  As  a  matter  of  fact  it  was  three 
miles — twelve  forties — before  the  pine  petered  out 
and  the  woodland  type  began  to  appear.  To  get  that 
far  I  had  dropped  from  9,000  to  6,800  feet  altitude, 
and  crossed  several  exceedingly  steep  ridges  which 
bounded  the  side  canyons  draining  into  Tierra 
Blanca  Canyon  some  thirty  chains  north. 

When  I  finally  surmounted  the  last  ridge  and  saw 
nothing  beyond  but  scrubby  pinon  and  juniper,  it 
was  just  noon.  The  sun  seemed  hotter  than  usual. 
As  I  glanced  at  the  aneroid  and  saw  the  three  thou- 
sand foot  change  in  elevation  the  reason  for  the  in- 
crease of  temperature  was  evident.  My  canteen 
was  dry  and  I  decided  to  postpone  lunch  till  later, 
on  the  chance  of  striking  water  coming  back.  I  felt 
comparatively  fresh,  so  that  while  the  prospect  of 
the  uphill  climb  home  was  not  at  all  attractive,  I  had 
no  special  misgivings  as  I  began  the  return  trip. 

The  first  mile  in  was  about  as  exasperating  work 
as  could  be  imagined.  I  was  running  high  up  on 


the  ridges,  near  the  top  of  the  divide  between  Tierra 
Blanca  and  the  watershed  directly  south.  The  east- 
ern slopes,  up  which  I  made  slow  and  painful  head- 
way, were  thickly  covered  with  oak  brush  and  man- 
zanita.  In  the  knee-high  grass  grew  cactus  and 
Mexican  locust,  the  thorns  of  which  rip  through 
clothes  and  flesh  like  tiny  daggers. 

It  was  necessary  actually  to  fight  one's  way 
through  this  mess,  step  by  step.  No  care,  however 
great,  served  to  avoid  the  brush  and  thorns.  The 
sun  poured  steadily  down  into  the  tangle.  It  seemed 
to  grow  hotter  and  fiercer,  moment  by  moment. 
Perspiration,  a  dirty  red  from  dust  and  blood,  ran 
in  streams  down  my  face  and  limbs.  I  began  to 
suffer  from  thirst.  My  mouth  and  throat  were  like 
brick  dust. 

Pebbles  held  in  the  mouth  and  chewing  tobacco, 
recommended  under  such  conditions,  did  not  relieve 
these  sensations  in  the  slightest  degree. 

I  gradually  became  possessed  of  a  dry  rage,  un- 
reasoning and  vindictive,  with  only  the  single  idea 
left  to  hold  my  line  and  reach  the  top  of  the  next 
ridge.  Slipping,  sliding,  cursing,  tearing  the  brush 
aside  with  my  hands,  butting  into  it  head  first,  fall- 
ing, rising,  crawling  on  all  fours,  I  advanced  slowly, 
foot  by  foot,  until  at  length  I  broke  through  a  screen 
of  branches  and  emerged  to  the  comparative  open 
of  the  summit.  I  dropped  to  the  ground  and  lay 
there,  completely  done. 

When  I  thought  of  the  two  miles  and  more  remain- 


ing  my  spirits  sank.  But  at  length  I  got  my  wind 
again  and  started  out  more  carefully  than  at  first, 
realising  the  folly  of  fighting  the  brush.  The  line 
led  downhill  for  a  few  hundred  feet,  a  fairly  easy 
descent,  across  a  dry  creek  bed  and  up  the  side  of 
the  next  ridge,  higher  by  two  hundred  feet  than  the 
last.  It  was  a  repetition  of  the  previous  climb,  but 
without  leaving  my  line  for  more  than  a  few  yards 
I  took  my  time  and  picked  the  easiest  route  through 
the  dense  cover.  This  saved  clothing  and  person 
somewhat  but  the  strain  of  the  continued  effort,  the 
faintness  from  lack  of  food,  and  the  effects  of  thirst, 
which  was  now  a  nightmare,  were  having  an  effect. 
At  increasingly  short  intervals  I  was  forced  to  stop 
and  rest.  At  first  a  brief  halt  was  sufficient.  But 
as  time  went  on  each  breathing  spell  was  longer,  each 
start  more  difficult.  I  felt  absurdly  weak  and  dizzy. 
My  heart  pounded  violently  on  the  least  movement. 
And  underneath  all  other  discomforts,  surrounding 
and  overshadowing  all,  was  the  craving  for  water. 

I  had  considered  the  possibility  of  offsetting  to 
Tierra  Blanca.  But  I  knew  that  this  like  most  of 
the  other  canyons  was  dry  now,  and  the  chances  of 
running  on  a  spring  were  slim  indeed.  Besides,  I 
felt  that  if  I  left  my  line  and  went  down  into  the 
main  canyon  I  would  never  be  able  to  return  and  fin- 
ish the  run.  And  this  I  was  determined,  if  possible, 
to  do. 

So  I  kept  on,  making  less  and  less  headway,  strug- 
gling against  exhaustion,  against  the  reaction  of  the 


heat,  and  against  over-exertion.  I  recall  very  little 
of  the  last  mile.  I  remember  vaguely  reaching  the 
foot  of  the  final  ascent — the  main  ridge,  along  which 
the  baseline  ran.  Five  hundred  feet  high  towered 
the  tree  clad  slopes,  steep  and  formidable.  I  sighted 
my  compass,  took  a  few  steps  upward,  and  for  the 
first  time  in  my  life  fell  in  a  dead  faint. 

I  must  have  been  out  of  my  head  for  a  time.  The 
first  thing  I  remember  after  my  strength  gave  way 
was  coming  out  of  a  daze  some  distance  from  the 
place  where  I  had  dropped  unconscious.  I  was 
stretched  flat  on  the  ground  sucking  water  out  of 
holes  the  hoof-prints  of  range  cattle  had  made  in 
the  sandy  bed  of  Tierra  Blanca  creek. 

I  sat  up  and  looked  around.  It  was  dark,  with 
the  stars  shining  cheerfully  overhead.  The  air  was 
distinctly  cold  and  I  reflected  dully  that  I  had  better 
make  a  fire  and  prepare  to  spend  the  night  where  I 
was.  But  I  did  not  move.  A  feeling  of  utter  re- 
lief and  peace  lay  upon  me.  To  stop  there  and  rest, 
for  days  and  days,  was  the  only  desire  I  had.  The 
little  water  I  had  managed  to  swallow,  seep  from 
some  hidden  spring,  must  have  been  responsible  for 
these  sensations. 

Doubtless  I  would  have  yielded  completely  to 
lethargy  had  not  a  pistol  shot  some  distance  away 
startled  me  into  a  more  energetic  frame  of  mind. 
I  drew  my  automatic  and  answered.  Soon  I  heard 
a  second  shot  and  later  still  another  sounded.  They 
were  coming  nearer  and  nearer.  At  intervals  I  fired 


in  answer  to  the  signals.  Presently  Brown's  long, 
shrill  scream  came  echoing  through  the  woods,  and 
a  few  moments  afterward  he  and  Frazer  reached  me. 
They  carried  water  and  a  flask  of  whiskey.  I  took 
all  of  each  that  was  good  for  me. 

Then  I  briefly  and  rather  shamefacedly  related 
the  day's  chapter  of  incidents. 

"I'm  sure  glad  nothing  more  serious  happened," 
remarked  Frazer  shortly,  when  I  had  finished. 
"We  thought  perhaps  you  might  have  been  hurt. 
For  Heaven's  sake  don't  get  ambitious  again.  We 
can't  afford  to  lose  any  cruisers  at  this  stage  of  the 

Another  swallow  of  water  and  a  last  pull  at  the 
flask  and  I  made  shift  to  climb  the  ridge,  by  easy 
stages.  We  reached  camp  at  ten  o'clock. 

I  fell  asleep  almost  instantly,  lay  like  a  log  till 
morning  and  awoke  able  to  do  a  light  day's  work. 
But  it  was  some  time  before  I  regained  my  normal 
self-conceit,  and  still  longer  before  the  camp  grew 
tired  of  guying  me  on  my  "record  run." 


IT  was  at  Tierra  Blanca  tliat  we  had  our  first  ex- 
perience with  " varmints."  For  some  time  after  we 
set  out  those  of  us  who  were  green  had  felt  a  little 
nervous  at  night  before  falling  asleep.  The  sensa- 
tion wore  off  before  long,  but  while  it  lasted  it  gave 
us  some  unpleasant  moments.  The  sight  of  ants, 
centipedes  or  spiders  disporting  themselves  on  one 's 
bed,  the  pattering  feet  of  rats  and  chipmunks  on  the 
tent  roof,  the  thought  of  possible  nocturnal  incur- 
sions of  skunks,  bob  cats,  snakes  or  tarantulas — 
these  things  were  beautifully  calculated  to  render 
one's  slumbers  uneasy. 

Such  a  state  of  mind,  unerringly  perceived  by  the 
seasoned  woodsmen  of  the  party,  was  played  upon 
skilfully,  for  their  diversion.  Hair  stiffening  sto- 
ries were  told  of  the  danger  of  vicious  midnight 
marauders  and  dark  hints  dropped,  from  time  to 
time,  of  the  perils  of  our  situation. 

"This  here's  a  mighty  likely  place  for  vinegar- 
ons,"  Bert  would  aver,  sepulchrally,  as  we  pitched 
camp.  "Them  little  ole  things  is  shore  pizen,  too. 
I  knowed  a  feller  onct — "  and  we  would  get  the 
blood  chilling  yarn  delivered  in  the  cook's  best  man- 



Or  Brown  would  come  in  some  evening  with  a  long 
face  and  state,  confidentially,  "I  seen  the  biggest 
b'ar  track  to-night  I  seen  in  a  month  of  years. 
Seems  like  them  b'ars  is  gittin'  mighty  bold  here- 
'bouts  lately.  I  have  hearn  tell  of  one  comin'  plumb 
into  camp  and  jump  in '  onto  a  feller.  But  I  don't 
hardly  think  they'd  be  likely  to  this  time  of  year. 
What  do  you  reckon,  Bert?" 

"Dunno,"  Bert  would  reply,  in  a  hushed  voice, 
shaking  his  head  dubiously;  "a  feller  can't  never 
tell  no  thin'  'bout  them  critters.  They  mought  take 
it  into  their  heads  to  do  anathin'." 

As  a  matter  of  fact  there  was  little  danger  from 
anything  but  skunks.  But  of  these  pests  even  cow- 
punchers  and  woodsmen,  careless  in  the  presence  of 
most  perils,  stand  in  deadly  fear.  For  the  skunk 
will  sometimes  attack  a  sleeping  camper  and  bite 
any  exposed  part,  usually  the  face,  before  the  vic- 
tim is  aware  of  his  approach.  The  danger  lies,  ac- 
cording to  local  tradition,  in  the  fact  that  the  ani- 
mals are  occasionally  hydrophobic,  especially  dur- 
ing the  dry  season.  Instances  of  a  horrible  death 
resulting  from  their  attacks  are  by  no  means  rare. 
And  so  prevalent  in  consequence  is  the  dread  of 
them  and  so  general  the  belief  in  their  power  to 
infect  one  who  is  bitten,  that  the  small  spotted  skunk 
is  invariably  known  locally  as  the  "phoby-cat." 

Brown  and  Bert  were  careful  to  hide  their  fear 
of  skunks  as  long  as  they  could,  but  it  was  revealed 
during  our  Tierra  Blanca  sojourn  in  a  rather  dra- 


matic  and,  for  the  rest  of  us,  highly  diverting  man- 

We  were  sitting  around  the  fire  on  the  first  even- 
ing in  our  new  camp.  Brown,  with  a  wink  at  Bert, 
drawled : 

"Seems  to  me  I  smell  somp'thin'  pow'ful  like  a 
phoby-cat.  Don't  you  all  notice  it?" 

Now  as  a  matter  of  fact,  though  the  inquiry  was 
made  with  no  expectation  of  an  affirmative  answer, 
at  this  precise  moment  a  penetrating  and  unpleas- 
ant odour  recognisable  at  once  as  emanating  from  the 
animal  referred  to  and  doubtless  the  result  of  our 
dogs'  researches  nearby,  did  indeed  pervade  the  air 
about  us. 

Brown  chuckled  gleefully.  His  assault  upon  our 
nerves  was  to  be  reinforced  by  a  dash  of  extremely 
realistic  atmosphere. 

"Reminds  me  of  the  night,"  he  said,  "when  ole 
Sam  Saffel  got  skunk-bit." 

"That  was  in  ninety-five,  wa'nt  it?"  asked  Bert, 
his  faithful  coadjutor. 

"  'Bout  then,"  said  Brown  judicially.  "Let's  see, 
there  was  Slim  Hitchcock,  Hinray  Betts,  Sam  an' 
me.  We  was  range-brandin'  calves  for  the  Gr.  0.  S. 
outfit  over  on  Bear  Creek. 

"Come  jest  such  an  evenin'  as  this  here,  and  we 
all  smelt  skunk  right  after  supper.  Ole  Sam  was 
pow'ful  scairt  of  skunks  and  he  wanted  we  should 
take  turns  sett  in'  up  all  night  watchin'  for  'em.  But 
we  laughs  him  plumb  out  of  the  notion  'twell  bimeby 


he  give  in  and  we  crawled  into  bed  and  went  to  sleep. 
" Didn't  seem  like  mor'n  five  minutes  afterward 
when  we  was  woke  up  by  the  worst  screechin'  you 
ever  hear.  Ole  Sam  was  settin'  up  in  bed  a-pullin' 
a  skunk  off  en  one  ear.  An'  he  was  shore  hollerin' 
lust-ly,  as  the  feller  says. 

"Well,  we  kilt  th'  skunk  an'  didn't  think  no  more 
about  it  t'well  about  a  week  later  when  we  wuz 
hustlin'  for  town,  havin'  run  might'  nigh  out  of 
chuck.  All  on  a  sudden  Ole  Sam  took  convulsions 
and  begin  foamin'  at  th'  mouth  and  we  had  to  tie 
him  down  out  thar  in  th'  woods  an'  leave  him,  seein' 
as  we  couldn't  very  well  take  him  along  the  way  he 
was  actin'  up.  We  shore  hated  to  drop  th'  ole  fel- 
ler," lamented  the  narrator,  sadly,  "but  they  wa'nt 
nothin'  else  to  do." 

"Good  Lord,"  cried  Conway,  "you  didn't  leave 
him  to  die  that  way,  did  you!" 

"Naw,"  returned  Brown,  more  dolefully  than  be- 
fore, "we  shot  him  afore  we  left." 

"Tom  Mestic  got  off  luckier  than  Ole  Sam,"  re- 
marked the  cook,  after  a  short  general  silence,  "the 
time  he  got  bit. ' ' 

"Don't  seem's  if  I  remember  that,"  Brown  came 

"  'Twas  a  little  before  Sam  died.  We  was  camped 
on  the  Seco.  Tom  an'  me  and  Sam  Morgan  and  Bill 
Sanders  didn't  know  there  was  any  phoby-cats  in 
the  neighbourhood  till  one  night  a  skunk  came  into 
camp  an'  bit  Tom  plumb  through  the  upper  lip 


whilst  he  was  sleeping.  A-course  he  woke  up  right 
away,  an'  so  did  the  rest  of  us.  We  wa'nt  right  sure 
th'  skunk  was  a  phoby-cat,  seem'  he  got  away,  but 
to  be  on  the  safe  side  Bill  an'  me  helt  Tom  an'  Sam 
Morgan  run  a  piece  of  red-hot  bailin'  wire  thro'  the 
holes  in  his  lip  so's  to  clean  'em  out  good.  He  ain't 
never  had  no  trouble  sence,  only  havin*  t'wear  a 
moustache — which  don't  hardly  compare  for  hard 
luck  with  bein'  dead." 

This  tale  provoked  argument,  but  Bert  stoutly 
maintained  its  truth.  Indeed,  I  have  since  had  oc- 
casion to  verify  it. 

While  we  talked,  the  penetrating,  unpleasant  odour 
that  was  before  barely  noticeable  had  become 
stronger.  And  this  or  something  else  woke  me  sev- 
eral times  during  the  early  part  of  the  night.  I  was 
just  dozing  off  after  one  of  these  wakeful  spells 
when  a  most  extraordinary  rumpus  outside  brought 
me  bolt  upright  and  wide  awake.  Slipping  on  a  pair 
of  moccasins  I  ran  over  to  Brown's  tent,  from  which 
issued  agonised  cries,  and  was  just  in  time  to  meet 
the  packer  hastily  emerging. 

I  thought  for  a  moment  he  had  lost  his  mind.  He 
seemed  as  far  as  I  could  make  out  to  be  trying  with 
his  right  arm  to  pull  the  left  from  its  socket,  pro- 
claiming meanwhile  in  ear  splitting  tones  that  he 
was  "skunk-bit." 

Frazer,  Conway,  Wallace  and  Wetherby  appeared, 
Horace  in  a  high  state  of  excitement,  waving  his  two 
Colts  menacingly.  But  no  skunk  was  to  be  seen. 


4  <  Whereabouts  is  he  f  Which  way  did  he  go ?"  we 

Brown,  hjstead  of  answering,  rubbed  his  eyes  and 
looked  sheepishly  about  him.  He  seemed  to  be  com- 
ing slowly  out  of  a  daze. 

" Doggone  it,"  he  ejaculated,  at  last,  "I  reckon 
there  wan't  none.  This  yere  arm  of  mine  done  gone 
to  sleep  an'  when  I  woke  up  dreamin'  trouble  and 
felt  it  lyin'  under  me  and  smelt  that  there  skunk 
I  shore  thought  my  arm  was  bit." 

We  had  "the  edge"  on  Brown  and  were  not  loath 
to  take  advantage  of  it.  There  was  considerable 
laughter  at  the  packer's  expense,  in  the  midst  of 
which  he  retreated  into  his  tent. 

Then  we  began  to  wonder  where  Bert  and  Moak 
were.  We  found  them  deep  in  their  blankets  with 
tarps  pulled  over  their  heads.  They  pretended  to 
be  asleep  but  the  pretence  was  hardly  convincing. 

The  real  skunk,  whose  proximity  no  one  doubted, 
did  not  annoy  us  that  night  but  a  few  evenings  there- 
after he  entered  the  camp  precincts,  doubtless  to 
forage  at  the  garbage  hole,  and  was  oddly  enough 
chased  into  Brown's  tent  by  one  of  the  dogs  and 
killed  upon  the  packer's  bed.  For  some  days  there- 
after both  bed  and  dog  were  deservedly  unpopular. 

As  Frazer  put  it,  after  suffering  for  a  day :  *  *  I  've 
heard  of  animals  dying  game;  but  that  skunk  died 
*  gamier'  than  anything  I  ever  knew  of." 

We  finally  forgave  him — Frazer,  that  is ! 


FKOM  Tierra  Blanca  we  moved  to  Donahue  Canyon, 
our  southernmost  camping  place,  and  a  few  miles 
only  from  the  Gila  Forest  boundary  line.  The  range 
dropped  off  quite  sharply  here.  We  were  but  little 
higher,  in  fact,  than  we  had  been  at  Kingston.  No 
tents  were  erected.  We  had  stopped  near  an  old 
cabin  which  would  serve  for  shelter  in  case  an  unex- 
pected storm  came  up,  for  the  rainy  season  was  due 
to  start  at  any  time  now. 

The  cabin  belonged  to  a  miner  named  McGee  whose 
present  habitation  was  but  a  short  distance  off.  He 
came  over  after  supper,  ostensibly  to  borrow  coffee, 
in  reality  to  talk. 

"I'm  glad  to  meet  a  bunch  of  guv'ment  men,"  he 
announced,  after  introducing  himself.  "Becuz  I'm 
for  ye.  There's  them  that's  agin'  the  guv'ment  an' 
the  National  Forests  an'  the  rangers,  but  ye '11  usu- 
ally find  it's  becuz  they  can't  inflooence  ye  to  some 
devilment,  like  they  maybe  could  some  private 
pa-arty.  Thin  they  raise  a  howl  about  conservation 
bein'  the  ruination  of  th'  country,  starvin'  out  the 
poor  man  an'  drivin'  capital  away.  That's  humour 
for  ye.  Drivin'  poor  timid  capital  away;  capital 
that's  so  scairt  of  takin'  a  chance  it'll  only  commit 


In  moving  from  Donahue's  Canyon  we  drove  the  burros  along  an 
almost   invisible   trail 

A  halt  for  repairs.    One  of  the  packs  slipped  here  and  held  up  the 
whole  procession 


every  crime  in  th'  calendar  to  make  three  per  cent 
intrust;  capital,  that  don't  care  enny  more  for  a 
fightin'  chance  to  earn  a  dividend  than  I  do  for  me 
lim  's.  No,  no,  byes !  Capital  '11  go  anywhere  there 's 
a  chanct  to  make  money — a  little  thing  like  guv'ment 
regulation  won't  drive  capital  away.  But  grafters, 
that's  another  thing.  Them  that  comes  here  like  a 
man  would  go  to  a  bank  an'  say  to  the  President: 
'Here,  you,  I  wanna  be  a  director  an'  get  let  in  on  a 
couple  of  hundred  per  cent  profit  for  me  money,  or  I 
won't  play,' — them  fellers  is  scairt  away  jest  like 
the  bank  would  scare  them.  What  'capital'  like 
that  is  lookin'  for  is  a  roulette  wheel — an'  it  wants  to 
own  the  wheel. 

"  An'  as  fer  the  poor  man,"  McGee  went  on,  "he's 
got  a  whole  lot  more  chance  on  the  National  Forest 
to-day  than  he  has  off  en'  it.  Haven't  I  got  twenty 
and  more  mining  claims  here  meself — an'  no  trouble 
in  gettin'  any  of  thim.  'The  rules  is  so  an'  so,'  says 
the  Supervisor,  'the  forests  is  to  use,  so  long  as  not 
abused,'  says  he,  'an  first  come  first  served,'  he  says. 
If  ye'  want  to  build  a  road,  or  use  water  power,  or 
let  y'r  sheep  or  cattle  run  on  th'  forest,  ye  git  y'r 
permit  an'  pay  y'r  fee,  an'  there  y'  are.  If  ye 
wanta  take  out  a  homestead  claim,  or  a  mining  claim, 
or  cut  wood  or  run  a  sawmill  the  way  is  simple  to 
folley.  There's  no  running  to  a  town  meetin'  or  a 
crooked  offishul  or  a  politician  to  make  it  easy  for 
ye  to  do  somethin'  ye  ought  not  to  be  allowed  to  do 
— for  a  consideration.  Ye  don't  haf '  to  bother  with 


th'  politicians;  that's  what  makes  thim  mad.  An' 
that's  the  reason  they're  hollerin'  their  heads  off 
about  the  turrible  guv'ment  regulations  of  Forests 
an'  how  lovely  t 'would  be  if  the  states  had  thim. 
T 'would  so — but  fer  the  politicians  and  their  fren's, 
not  fer  you  and  me. 

"An'  much  as  they  holler,  an'  much  as  they'd  like 
to  git  somethin'  on  the  Forest  Service,  ye  never 
heard  one  av  thim  yet  cha-a-rge  any  favrytism — 
ye  never  heard  thim  say  that  any  offishul  of  the  serv- 
ice give  one  man  anathin'  ahead  of  another,  unless 
he  had  a  right  to  ut. ' ' 

We  applauded  McGee's  speech  heartily.  Nor  did 
it  take  us  by  surprise.  For  among  the  actual  users 
of  the  Forest,  the  men  earning  their  living  by  work- 
ing for  it,  the  general  feeling  now  is  that  the  Forest 
Service  administration  is  fair  and  just  and  in  general 
conducive  of  much  better  conditions  for  the  small 
man  than  the  old  laAssez  faire  policy  of  competition 
and  waste  on  range  and  in  forest  could  ever  be ;  that 
it  would  be  a  calamity  to  return  to  that  condition  and 
that  it  would  be  a  regime  only  a  little,  if  any,  less 
disastrous  if  the  forests  were  to  be  put  into  the 
control  of  the  various  states.  For  that  would  mean, 
in  too  many  cases,  into  the  hands  of  the  state  bosses. 

Before  we  left  this  camp  the  old  miner  bestowed 
upon  us  a  wealth  of  facts  regarding  the  mineral  re- 
sources of  the  Black  Eange.  He  was  optimistic  as 
to  future  prospects.  He  showed  us  samples  of  ore 
that  looked  good,  and  seemed  to  think  that  it  would 


be  only  a  brief  period  before  he  could  interest 
moneyed  men  in  his  schemes  for  development. 

From  Donahue  Creek  we  turned  westward  and 
made  a  move  of  six  miles  across  the  divide  to  Gal- 
linas  Creek,  one  of  the  larger  streams  flowing  south- 
west into  the  Mimbres. 

On  this  move  we  gained  some  valuable  experience 
in  burro  punching.  The  packers  had  been  obliged 
to  make  a  trip  to  Hillsboro  with  part  of  the  outfit 
and  were  not  yet  returned.  So  the  rest  of  us 
wrangled  the  "wild  asses, "  as  Brown  called  them,  on 
moving  day,  and  after  a  little  longer  time  than  usual 
got  them  packed  and  under  way. 

Bob  Moak,  Frazer  and  Bert  did  most  of  the  actual 
work.  The  rest  of  us,  I'm  afraid,  were  more  in  the 
way  than  otherwise  at  this  time,  though  before  the 
season  ended  we  became  fairly  proficient  in  the  art 
of  packing. 

Horace  amused  us  all  by  endeavouring  to  maintain 
an  attitude  of  thorough  conversance  with  what  was 
going  on,  while  continually  falling  into  laughable 
blunders.  One  of  his  mishaps  will  live.  He  was 
busily  engaged  in  helping  to  pack  old  Eed,  uncon- 
scious of  the  fact  that  Methusalum's  tie  rope  had  be- 
come accidentally  wrapped  about  his  ankle.  A  few 
seconds  later  he  was  jerked  flat  on  his  back  by  an 
unexpected  movement  on  Methusalum's  part  and  had 
to  borrow  one  of  the  packer's  horses  for  the  trip. 
I  forget  what  he  called  his  trouble  but,  as  Ewing 
said,  the  name  deserved  support. 


For  the  first  few  miles  of  our  trip  we  had  good 
going.  The  route  lay  along  an  excellent  road  cut  in 
the  side  of  the  mountain  by  an  old  mining  concern 
whose  property  has  for  years  now  been  idle.  We 
were  congratulating  ourselves  on  this  good  luck 
when  the  highway  stopped  abruptly  at  El  Centro,  a 
group  of  empty  shacks  marking  the  site  of  the  former 
mining  camp,  and  an  almost  invisible  trail  led  us 
from  there  through  two  miles  of  thick  oak  brush  and 

Our  untutored  pack  animals  immediately  scattered 
in  all  directions  like  a  covey  of  quail.  As  soon  as 
one  of  them  felt  that  he  was  out  of  sight  he  would 
stop  and  stand  silent  and  motionless  until  some  one 
of  us  found  him  and  drove  him  back  into  line. 

It  meant  a  strenuous  afternoon  of  rushing  hither 
and  thither  in  the  tough,  scarcely  penetrable  cover, 
looking  for  laggards,  bringing  up  the  recalcitrant, 
counting  the  outfit  over  every  few  minutes  and,  if 
they  could  not  all  be  accounted  for,  starting  out  to 
search  once  more. 

But,  like  all  things,  our  task  came  finally  to  an 
end  and  we  made  our  first  Gallinas  camp  at  sun- 
down, with  tired  bodies  and  frayed  feelings  but  with 
none  missing  from  the  roll  of  jackasses. 

We  remained  at  this  camp  several  days,  making 
long  runs  to  the  west  and  shorter  ones  eastward  to 
abut  on  our  work  of  the  preceding  weeks. 

Our  next  move  but  one  took  us  to  the  head  of  Gal- 
linas Creek,  near  the  summit  of  Hillsboro  Peak. 


This  mountain  rises  to  a  height  of  over  10,000  feet, 
and  with  the  exception  of  Yellow  jacket  Peak,  near 
the  northern  boundary,  is  the  highest  point  along 
the  range. 

We  were  camped  by  Hillsboro  Lake,  a  pretty  pond 
set  in  a  most  picturesque  growth  of  aspen.  The 
camp  was  on  a  fire  patrol  trail  along  the  main  di- 
vide and  we  were  visited  twice  a  day  while  there  by 
a  fire  guard  on  his  way  to  and  from  the  lookout  sta- 
tion on  top  of  the  Peak. 

During  his  visits  this  guard,  a  young  fellow  from 
Hillsboro  named  Eeid,  explained  to  those  of  us  who 
were  unfamiliar  with  it  the  Gila  fire  plan,  of  par- 
ticular interest  to  us  at  this  time  inasmuch  as  we 
were  liable  to  be  called  upon  to  assist  in  fighting  a 
fire  any  time  it  got  beyond  the  control  of  the  regular 
fire  force. 

The  system  adopted  by  the  Supervisor  is  ingenious 
and  effective.  It  contemplates,  first  of  all,  a  special 
force  for  the  forest  during  the  fire  season  (approxi- 
mately from  May  1  to  July  1)  consisting  of  three 
patrol  chiefs  in  charge  of  fire  districts  and  fifteen 

The  Black  Bange,  designated  as  Fire  District  One, 
is  divided  into  six  patrol  divisions,  each  one  in 
charge  of  a  fire  guard.  The  lookouts,  one  to  a  di- 
vision, are  on  Sawyer's  Peak,  Hillsboro  Peak,  Yel- 
lowjacket  Peak,  Mimbres  Head,  Sheep  Creek  Peak 
and  Terry  Peak.  These  lookouts  are  visited  at 
least  once  a  day;  in  times  of  particular  danger  a 


guard  camps  continually  at  the  more  important 

Every  station  is  provided,  in  addition  to  fire  tools, 
with  a  compass,  a  field  glass,  a  fire  map  and  a  stand- 
ard protractor.  Also  it  is  connected  by  telephone 
with  the  Supervisor's  office  in  Silver  City. 

When  the  fire  guard  spots  a  fire  from  the  lookout 
peak  he  at  once  reads  its  angle  of  direction  from  the 
protractor.  This  he  telephones  to  the  Supervisor, 
together  with  any  other  facts  such  as  the  apparent 
size  and  character  of  the  fire  that  he  thinks  impor- 
tant. As  soon  as  two  or  three  direction  readings 
from  different  lookouts  are  received  at  Silver  City, 
the  Supervisor  proceeds  to  locate  the  fire  by  means 
of  the  large  fire  map  there.  Every  lookout  station 
shown  on  the  map  has  a  thread  of  silk  attached  to  it 
'  by  one  end.  This  thread  is  drawn  across  the  map  in 
the  exact  direction  indicated  by  the  angle  sent  in, 
and  the  precise  point  at  which  two  or  more  threads 
cross  indicates  the  location  of  the  fire  reported. 

All  arrangements  for  attacking  the  fire  or  fires 
may  thus  be  made  at  headquarters  almost  as  soon 
as  they  are  discovered  in  the  field,  and  a  force  of 
men  sent  at  once,  if  necessary,  by  the  best  and  quick- 
est route  to  the  scene  of  action. 

So  efficacious  is  this  system  that  no  fire  on  the 
Gila,  Reid  told  us,  had  obtained  over  twenty-four 
hours'  headway,  before  being  discovered,  since  the 
fire  plan  was  put  in  force.  We  were  profoundly 

BOUNDING  THE  SOUTH  END          85 

grateful  for  this  fact  and  slept  the  better  for  a 
knowledge  of  it.  Had  we  been  able  to  forecast  the 
immediate  future  we  would  have  rested  less  easily, 
perhaps,  in  our  tents  by  Hillsboro  Lake. 


ALL  went  well  until  Saturday — the  end  of  the  first 
week  in  our  Hillsboro  camp — when  trouble  broke 
from  a  clear  sky.  We  had  finished  a  rather  hard 
day's  work  and  were  in  the  act  of  sitting  down  to 
supper  when  the  drumming  of  horse's  hoofs  came 
to  our  ears.  A  moment  later  Reid,  the  fire  guard,  ap- 
proached at  a  gallop  and  drew  up  just  long  enough 
to  shout: 

" Fire's  broke  out  on  the  north  slope  of  Hillsboro 
Peak.  It's  got  away  from  me.  I've  phoned  for  men 
but  they  can't  get  here  till  morning,  so  you  fellows '11 
have  to  come  up  to-night.  There's  plenty  of  axes, 
hoes  and  gunny  sacks,  but  we'll  need  water.  I'm 
going  back  to  do  what  I  can  till  you  get  there. 
Don't  lose  any  time — every  minute  now  may  save 
hours  of  work  later ! ' ' 

Then,  whirling  about,  he  galloped  off  up  the  trail. 

The  hasty  summons  of  the  guard  materially  al- 
tered our  plans  for  the  evening.  Instead  of  a  leis- 
urely supper  and  a  comfortable  loaf  about  the  fire, 
with  bed  hovering  pleasantly  in  the  background,  we 
saw  before  us  a  long  night  of  heart-breaking  toil  by 
the  red  light  of  flames,  a  night  such  as  haunts  the 



As   seen  at  a  distance,   smoke   from  the  burning  brush   filled  the 
air.     Nothing  else  for  a  time  could  be  seen 


How  the  fire  looked  at  close  quarters  as  it  worked  forward  to  our 

cleared  line 

FIRE  87 

sleep  of  every  Forest  Service  man  during  the  dry 

Those  of  us  who  had  never  fought  fire  in  the  woods 
— Wallace,  Wetherby,  Conway  and  myself,  were 
much  excited.  We  were  anxious  to  meet  this 
dreaded  opponent.  Tales  that  we  had  heard,  legends 
of  former  conflagrations,  buzzed  in  our  brains. 
The  interest  we  felt  in  the  impending  struggle  over- 
came the  fear  of  fatigue — the  natural  physical  aver- 
sion for  the  gruelling  task  ahead. 

The  older  men,  by  contrast,  were  silent  and  seri- 
ous. They  knew  what  the  call  meant.  They  remem- 
bered similar  nights  of  toil  with  shovel  or  rake,  wet 
sack  or  pine  limb  flail,  by  back  fire  or  cleared  line, 
long  nights  passed  in  a  death  struggle  with  the  for- 
ests' arch-enemy,  sometimes  conquering,  crushing 
the  red  terror  into  the  blackness  of  death,  sometimes 
conquered,  driven  from  the  field  by  the  fiery  breath 
of  the  onrushing  flames.  These  veterans  did  not 
lightly  join  issue  again.  Their  gravity  was  impres- 
sive, portentous;  their  silent,  swift  preparation  in- 
spired us  with  the  feeling  that  our  waiting  foe  was 
worthy  of  our  most  earnest  efforts,  that  no  man 
might  with  confidence  foretell  the  outcome  of  the 
night's  work. 

There  was  no  confusion,  or  hesitation,  once  the 
warning  came.  The  packers  and  the  cook,  detailed 
to  supply  water  to  the  fighters  on  the  line,  left  at 
once  to  round  up  the  burros. 

The  rest  of  us  started  for  the  scene  of  action  with- 


out  waiting  to  finish  supper,  merely  stuffing  our 
pockets  with  what  food  came  handiest.  For  fire 
brooks  no  delay  and  the  same,  on  such  occasions,  may 
be  said  of  Forest  Supervisors. 

A  hike  of  three  miles  brought  us  to  the  edge  of  the 
burning  area,  which  appeared  at  this  time  to  be  one 
hundred  acres  or  more  in  extent.  We  saw  at  once 
that  we  had  to  deal  with  what  is  technically  termed  a 
"  surf  ace "  fire, — that  is,  the  fire  fed  chiefly  on  brush 
and  the  young  growth  of  pine,  ground  cover  and  fal- 
len logs,  the  litter  covering  the  soil — rather  than  like 
"ground  fire"  actually  getting  a  hold  in  the  humus 
and  smouldering  beneath  the  surface  or  like  a 
"  crown  fire"  sweeping  through  the  tops  and 
branches  of  the  larger  trees. 

When  we  arrived  the  fire  was  climbing  toward  the 
top  of  Hillsboro  Peak  driven  by  a  mild  breeze  from 
the  north.  There  was  a  fairly  dense  cover  here 
which  made  good  fuel.  Also  the  fire  was  ascending 
and  would  therefore  naturally  travel  faster  than 
when  working  on  a  level  or  down  hill.  So  the  flames 
leapt  merrily  upward,  sparks  flew  before,  and  it  was 
obvious  that  nothing  effective  could  be  done  to  check 
their  advance  until  the  bright  line  of  destruction 
reached  the  crest  of  the  mountain  and  started  down 
the  other  side. 

Reid  joined  us  as  soon  as  we  came  upon  the  scene. 
He  carried  a  long,  steel  shafted  rake  upon  his  shoul- 
ders. He  was  dripping  sweat  and  his  face  and 
hands  were  blackened  by  smoke. 

FIRE  89 

"Glad  to  see  you,"  he  grinned  through  this  grimy 
mask,  "she's  going  strong,  ain't  she?  About  all  we 
can  do  now,  I  reckon,  is  get  on  top  and  cut  a  line. 
Then  fight  her  there,  just  as  she  starts  to  dip  down 
hill.  There'll  be  a  bunch  out  in  the  morning,  but 
the  real  work  must  be  done  to-night.  If  we  can  hold 
her  at  the  line  till  reinforcements  come  we'll  win 

So  there  began  at  once  a  three  cornered  race. 
With  shovel  and  axe  and  rake  we  worked  heroically 
to  clear  a  fireline  at  the  edge  of  the  south  slope  of 
Hillsboro  Peak,  in  accordance  with  Eeid's  directions, 
before  the  line  of  fire  should  reach  the  position  we 
had  chosen  to  fortify.  And  darkness,  coming  on 
apace,  promised  for  a  time  to  beat  us  both. 

But  we  won.  When  the  light  in  the  western  sky 
faded  and  the  jack-in-the-box  stars  popped  out,  one 
by  one ;  and  when  finally  through  the  gathering  dusk 
we  saw  the  ruddy  flare  of  fire  rise  threateningly 
above  the  line  of  the  ridge,  we  were  ready. 

A  line  fifteen  feet  wide  and  four  hundred  yards 
long,  cleared  to  the  dirt,  lay  along  the  top.  Behind! 
it,  resting  for  a  brief  breath-winning  spell,  were  the 
fire  fighters.  Bakes  and  pine  branches  thickly  pad- 
ded with  needles,  shovels  and  wetted  gunny  sacks 
(for  the  first  load  of  water  had  arrived)  lay  ready  to 
hand.  There  needed  nothing  now  to  start  the  duel 
but  that  the  crawling  foe,  approaching  nearer  mo- 
ment by  moment,  should  reach  us  and  assault  our 
position,  It  was  the  calm  before  the  storm,  the 


pause,  impressive  in  its  mere  inaction,  that  serves 
to  herald  the  imminent  clashing  of  two  gladiators 
who  neither  ask  nor  give  quarter. 

There  were  seven  of  us  there  in  all:  Reid, 
Frazer,  Moak,  Wallace,  Wetherby,  Conway  and  my- 
self. This  gave  each  of  us  approximately  sixty 
yards  of  fire  line  to  protect,  sixty  yards  of  rock  and 
dirt  across  which  no  flame  must  win,  no  spark  leap 
and  live,  throughout  the  night. 

At  last  the  moment  for  action  arrived.  Here  and 
there  tongues  of  fire,  small  wedges  of  burning  brush, 
the  advance  guard  of  the  main  body,  broke  from  its 
ragged  front  and  sallied  ahead  in  short,  uneven 
rushes,  as  if  filled  with  a  momentary  confidence,  a 
presentiment  of  victory  to  come.  But  when  these 
scouting  forces  struck  the  cleared  line  they  halted  in 
mid-career  as  a  bullet  stops  at  a  wall  of  sand. 

This  was  our  moment.  The  leaping  flames  sank 
abruptly  to  a  slow  creeping  line  of  yellow,  close  to 
the  ground,  and  the  heat,  intolerable  before,  moder- 
ated enough  to  permit  of  our  approach.  We  leapt 
forward  and  with  swinging  bough  or  dampened 
gunny  sack  beat  out  the  wavering  line  of  fire. 

At  first  it  was  easy.  We  were  keyed  to  effort  and 
the  burning  spots  along  the  fireline  were  yet  few  and 
feeble.  We  had  frequent  opportunity  to  catch  our 
breath  in  the  intervals,  to  rush  for  a  moment  back 
from  the  line  of  battle  and  recover  from  each  suffo- 
cating swirl  of  smoke  or  blast  of  excessive  heat. 
But  these  chances  became  fewer  and  farther  apart. 

FIEE  91 

As  the  main  fire  reached  us  our  attention  was  re- 
quired not  only  at  isolated  spots  but  all  along  the 
front.  More  and  more  we  found  ourselves  fighting 
a  continuous  line  of  flames,  combating  a  hydra- 
headed  enemy.  No  sooner  was  the  fire  crushed  in 
one  place  than  it  broke  out  in  a  dozen  others  and  we 
rushed  off  to  attack  them  one  after  another. 

The  battle  was  general.  Hour  succeeded  wearing 
hour.  We  hardly  heeded  the  passage  of  time. 
Bushing  hither  and  thither  through  the  clouds  of 
smoke,  howling  warnings  and  suggestions  to  one  an- 
other, running  to  the  assistance  of  a  hard  pressed 
comrade  or  calling  for  aid  ourselves,  we  fought 
through  the  hours  of  the  night,  looking  in  the  un- 
canny ruby  glow  for  all  the  world  like  a  crowd  of 
imps  toiling  to  feed  the  furnaces  of  hell. 

It  is  hard  now  to  remember,  to  pick  out  special 
scenes  or  incidents  of  that  kaleidoscopic  night.  The 
picture  that  recollection  holds  fast  to  is  blurred  and 
smoke  dimmed,  just  a  confused,  endless,  ever  shift- 
ing succession  of  bright  flames  springing  at  us  out 
of  the  dark,  a  weary  hand  to  hand  battle  with  the 
tireless  enemy,  a  growing  fatigue  that  ached  and 
throbbed  like  a  prisoned  spirit  of  evil  and  a  joyful 
underlying  consciousness,  leavening  and  lightening 
all,  that  we  were  holding  our  own,  that  no  hungry 
shred  of  fire  had  passed  our  defences  and  penetrated 
to  the  rich  timbered  region  behind  us. 

We  were  on  our  feet  in  almost  constant  action  till 
morning.  Bert  and  the  packers,  between  trips  for 


water,  offered  time  and  again  to  relieve  the  men 
along  the  line.  Horace  gave  out  finally  and  took 
advantage  of  such  a  suggestion  to  swap  jobs  with 
Ewing.  Some  time  toward  midnight  Moak  changed 
places  with  Brown.  But  the  rest  of  us,  filled  with 
the  enthusiasm  of  the  game,  refused  to  quit. 

Morning  at  last  brought  an  end  to  the  long  grind. 
As  the  sun  rose,  bloody  through  the  blackened  air, 
a  far  off  yell  of  encouragement  came  gratefully  to 
our  ears,  with  its  cheering  message  of  reinforce- 
ments on  the  way.  A  little  later  a  galloping  line  of 
fire  guards  and  cowpunchers  swung  up  the  trail  and 
dismounted.  They  had  ridden  all  night,  but  after  a 
cup  of  hot  coffee,  which  Bert  prepared,  joined  ener- 
getically in  the  fight. 

The  fire  did  not  now  long  resist  the  combined  ef- 
forts of  both  parties.  In  a  few  hours  it  was  sur- 
rounded and  so  far  under  control  that  those  of  us 
who  most  needed  sleep  could  rest. 

And  we  were  ready  to  rest.  From  our  sensations 
at  this  time  we  did  not  see  how  it  was  humanly  pos- 
sible to  keep  the  pace  we  had  set  much  longer,  but 
instances  are  on  record,  on  this  same  Gila  National 
forest,  of  men  fighting  fire  continuously  without 
sleep  or  rest  for  thirty,  forty-eight,  and,  in  one  in- 
stance, for  sixty-three  solid  hours. 

When  it  was  all  over  we  were  thankful  for  the 
experience,  but  we  desired  no  more.  Here  was  the 
one  thing  we  had  found  that  was  harder  work,  while 
it  lasted,  than  reconnaissance. 


BY  June  we  had  worked  north  along  the  west  side 
until  we  reached  a  point  level  with  Sawyer's  Peak, 
where  we  began.  This  completed  the  horseshoe 
shaped  southern  portion  of  the  baseline  from  which 
we  had  cruised  the  whole  south  end  of  the  range. 
So  we  packed  up  and  moved  over  the  divide  once 
more  to  jibe  with  our  first  work  and  work  north  from 
there  along  the  east  slope. 

These  runs  were  anything  but  pleasant.  The  east 
side,  rougher  and  less  heavily  timbered  than  the 
western  half  of  the  Eange,  was  for  that  the  more 
difficult  to  cruise,  and  the  region  that  we  now  went 
through  seemed  worse  than  any  place  we  had  en- 
countered thus  far.  But  we  were  becoming  thor- 
oughly hardened  and  accustomed  to  expect  a  pretty 
severe  grind  each  day;  we  were  getting  into  the 
swing  of  the  work  and  reeling  off  the  long,  brushy 
runs  with  infinitely  less  effort  than  in  the  begin- 

We  first  tackled  North  Percha  Creek  watershed, 
then  came  a  hateful  little  cliff  bordered  canyon  called 
Cave  Creek,  and  finally,  about  the  middle  of  the 
month,  we  reached  Cub  Canyon.  Ahead,  less  than 



a  week's  work  away,  was  the  Animas,  of  which  we 
had  already  heard  so  much.  We  anticipated,  half  in 
relief,  half  in  anxiety,  an  early  encounter  with  this 
dreaded  canyon  and  its  tributaries. 

But  just  at  this  time  the  rainy  season  rather  unex- 
pectedly set  in.  A  mild  drizzle  began  on  the  seven- 
teenth of  June  and  was  followed  by  a  steady  down- 
pour that  lasted  three  days.  We  spent  this  time  in 
camp,  jibing  the  contours  of  adjoining  runs  and 
transferring  maps  and  estimates  from  our  field  note- 
books to  permanent  section  plats.  Then  on  the 
twenty-first  Frazer  decided  to  cross  to  the  west  side 
and  work  northward  from  where  we  had  left  off  un- 
til the  constant  rain  should  cease. 

"If  we  attempt  the  Animas  now,"  he  explained, 
"we'll  find  ourselves  up  against  it  for  fair.  We 
could  never  stand  that  and  the  rain  at  the  same 

Some  of  us  who  had  never  gone  through  a  rainy 
season  in  the  mountains  were  inclined  to  believe  the 
move  unnecessary,  but  later  were  prone  to  admit  its 
wisdom.  For  besides  the  usual  difficulties  the 
cruiser  had  now  the  added  discomfort  of  being  wet 
through  at  least  once  a  day. 

Each  morning  we  started  out  under  a  cloudless 
sky.  Almost  invariably,  as  the  forenoon  wore  along, 
a  storm  would  overtake  us.  It  was  usually  heralded 
by  a  first  faint  mutter  of  thunder,  just  audible.  A 
few  moments  later  a  small  black  cloud  appeared 


above  the  backbone  of  the  range  and  spread  swiftly 
till  it  covered  the  whole  corner  of  the  sky.  As  it 
neared  a  cold  wind  roared  dismally  through  the 
trees  and  a  moment  later  rain  fell  in  sheets,  blotting 
put  the  surrounding  landscape  completely. 

We  stood  meanwhile  under  the  half  shelter  of  a 
tree  or  rock,  wet  to  the  skin  and  numb  with  cold, 
and  waited  till  the  worst  of  the  storm  passed,  list- 
ening to  the  hiss  of  the  rain  and  watching  the  almost 
continuous  stabs  of  lightning,  or  starting  involun- 
tarily at  the  jarring,  crashing  detonation  of  the  fol- 
lowing thunder. 

Then,  when  the  air  cleared  a  trifle,  we  sallied  forth 
once  more  and  took  up  our  run  where  we  left  off. 
Sometimes  the  rain  continued;  sometimes  we  were 
enveloped  in  chilly  banks  of  cloud,  not  nearly  so  at- 
tractive close  at  hand  as  they  appeared  from  a  dis- 

Once,  on  a  day  like  this,  I  ran  my  line  for  a  mile 
over  a  row  of  peaks  where  the  cloud  mists  were  so 
thick  I  could  see  not  further  than  fifty  feet  in  any 
direction.  My  maps,  as  might  be  surmised,  were 
not  all  that  could  be  desired. 

Often,  instead  of  passing  overhead,  a  storm  would 
miss  us  and  roll  by  to  one  side  or  the  other.  At  such 
times,  particularly  if  we  chanced  to  be  in  a  place  of 
vantage,  on  a  pinnacle  or  high  point,  the  spectacle 
defied  description.  The  whole  world,  as  we  saw  it — 
mountain  and  valley,  sky  and  far  plain,— framed  a 


gigantic  conflict  of  elemental  forces  that  suggested 
a  vision  of  Dore's.  The  wonderful  bigness  of  the 
sight  took  one's  breath  away. 

In  course  of  time  we  grew  used  to  even  these  awe- 
some scenes.  All  that  remained  from  our  first  com- 
plex of  emotion  was  a  keen  personal  antipathy  to 
cloud,  rain,  hail,  lightning  and  thunder,  singly  and 

The  most  annoying  feature  of  it  all  was  the  ex- 
treme cold  that  came  with  the  storm.  The  rain  when 
not  frozen  into  hail  was  cold  as  ice  and  at  the  same 
time  the  general  temperature  dropped  from  thirty 
to  fifty  degrees.  Dressed  as  lightly  as  possible,  our 
blood  thinned  by  the  heat  and  hard  work,  we  were 
easily  chilled.  Sometimes  our  arms  became  numb 
to  the  shoulders  and  our  feet  lost  all  sensation. 
Sometimes  we  shivered  and  shook  so  that  the  con- 
tours of  our  maps  took  on  that  tremulous  character 
which  is  used  in  mapwork  to  indicate  the  course  of 
a  river.  But  we  worked  ahead  perforce  as  best  we 
could  and  took  our  daily  bath  with  as  much  philos- 
ophy as  we  could  command. 

To  some  of  the  party  the  lightning  was  a  greater 
trial  than  the  rain.  Often  during  a  storm  the  flashes 
came  so  close  together  that  they  seemed  connected. 
Each  of  us  at  one  time  or  another  managed  to  get  in 
the  vicinity  of  a  falling  bolt  when  it  struck  and  our 
nerves  consequently  became  affected  in  varying  de- 

The  most  exciting  incident  of  this  sort  occurred 


one  hot  night  in  the  early  part  of  July.  We  had 
been  laboriously  covering  the  upper  Gallinas  coun- 
try, the  Noonday  Canyon  watershed  and  the  lower 
reaches  of  Shepherd  Creek  during  the  two  weeks  or 
more  of  the  rainy  weather  that  had  passed. 

It  was  our  first  camp  on  Shepherd  Creek,  and  we 
had  pitched  our  tents  near  a  little  side  draw.  Within 
the  camp  limits  grew  several  large  pines,  to  one  of 
which  the  cook  tent  was  lashed.  Some  one  spoke  of 
the  danger  of  sleeping  so  close  to  these  "  lightning 
rods ' '  and  our  conversation  thereafter  until  bedtime 
consisted  chiefly  of  reminiscences  concerning  light- 
ning and  its  dangers. 

The  stars  were  shining  when  we  retired.  Not  a 
cloud  obscured  the  sky.  But  in  the  middle  of  the 
night  we  were  brought  up  standing  by  a  crash  as  if 
the  heavens  had  fallen.  The  wind  was  howling 
hoarsely,  the  rain  coming  down  in  torrents  and  the 
lightning  and  thunder  performing  with  great  and 
insistent  regularity.  Through  the  uproar  we  heard, 
near  at  hand,  loud  yells  for  assistance.  I  peered 
cautiously  out  through  the  tent  flap  and  by  the  rapid 
flashes  saw  a  strange  sight. 

The  tent  in  which  Wallace  and  Wetherby  dwelt 
was  flapping  madly  in  the  wind,  guy  ropes  flying  and 
stakes  pulled  up.  It  was  held  only  by  the  ridge 
rope,  fastened  to  two  trees,  one  in  front  and  one  be- 
hind. The  frantic  owners,  scantily  clad  and  looking 
like  two  bedraggled  ghosts,  jumped  around  the 
canvas  in  a  mad  effort  to  secure  it  without  being 


slapped  across  camp  by  a  blow  from  the  heavy  cloth. 

Wetherby's  was  the  voice  we  had  heard.  He  was 
alternately  calling  for  aid  and  anathematising  the 
world,  while  Wallace,  less  loudly,  but  fully  as  heart- 
ily, berated  his  tent  fellow  for  alleged  contributory 

"Doggone  it!"  he  cried,  "didn't  I  tell  you  not  to 
fasten  the  ropes  so  tight?  You  might  have  known 
the  tent  would  shrink  and  pull  up  the  stakes !" 

We  did  not  hear  Horace's  defence.  It  is  possible 
that  he  had  none. 

After  an  extremely  strenuous  ten  minutes  the  two 
unfortunates  succeeded  in  securing  the  tent  once 
more.  They  skipped  inside  like  rats,  and  had  no 
more  than  crawled  into  their  wet  beds  when  a  blind- 
ing fla,sh  and  a  terrific  thunder  clap  that  seemed  to 
split  the  earth  came  simultaneously. 

The  air  was  full  of  flying  wood  and  burning 
splinters.  By  the  next  quick  flash  we  saw  the  cook 
tent  hanging  to  a  shattered  tree.  We  arose  at  once. 
Bert  was  stunned,  but  unhurt — a  miracle  in  itself — 
and  pulling  his  bed  into  one  of  the  other  tents  we  left 
him  cursing  as  he  crawled  into  his  wet  blankets  and 
sought  our  own  couches. 

On  another  occasion,  a  short  time  after  this  mid- 
night alarm,  a  thunderstorm  was  indirectly  respon- 
sible for  about  the  worst  scare  I  got  during  the 
season.  I  was  crossing  a  ridge  between  Shepherd 
Creek  and  East  Canyon  when  the  sound  of  thunder 
first  came  and  I  made  haste  to  descend  into  the  can- 



yon,  since  the  danger  of  being  struck  is  greater  on 
high  points.  Halfway  down  the  slope  I  spied  a  pile 
of  outcropping  rocks  just  ahead.  It  looked  like  a 
good  shelter,  the  more  so  as  on  closer  inspection  a 
cave  appeared.  The  mouth  was  about  three  feet 
high  and  just  wide  enough  to  squeeze  through.  The 
storm  was  close  at  hand,  so  without  more  ado  I 
dropped  on  hands  and  knees  and  began  to  crawl  into 
the  opening.  Almost  at  once  I  stopped  at  a  slight 
movement  within,  and  looked  up  into  a  pair  of  the 
brightest,  greenest,  most  fearsome  eyes  imaginable. 

It  could  not  have  been  more  than  ten  seconds  after- 
ward before  I  found  myself  perched  in  a  small  oak, 
some  five  feet  from  the  ground,  with  no  recollection 
of  how  I  got  there.  A  female  mountain  lion,  her  tail 
waving  gently  to  and  fro,  crouched  close  to  the 
ground  a  short  distance  away. 

I  had  sometimes  fondly  imagined  a  meeting  of  this 
sort,  but  the  details  in  those  adventures  did  not  cor- 
respond in  the  slightest  degree  to  the  present  cir- 
cumstances. I  reflected,  as  I  drew  my  automatic 
from  its  holster,  that  facts  do  not  invariably  follow 
the  course  of  mental  excursions. 

And  at  just  this  interesting  moment  I  recalled 
with  a  sinking  sensation  that  I  had  all  but  emptied 
my  gun  at  a  squirrel  only  a  short  time  before.  I 
was  not  sure  whether  there  were  any  cartridges  left 
in  the  magazine. 

The  ensuing  brief  pause  was  one  of  the  most  un- 
comfortable periods  I  have  ever  spent.  Fortunately 


for  my  self-control  it  was  but  a  few  seconds  before 
the  lioness,  who  had  been  creeping  nearer,  stopped, 
lowered  her  head,  and  with  a  snarl  sprang  up  and 
forward.  As  she  rose  I  shoved  the  pistol  in  her  face 
and  pulled  the  trigger.  A  welcome  report  followed 
and  as  her  body  struck  me  and  we  came  to  the  ground 
together  I  remember  thinking  mirthlessly: 

"Well,  if  I  missed  that  chance  I  deserve  what's 
coming. " 

I  arose  at  once,  hastily,  still  grasping  my  pistol, 
but  the  lioness  remained  where  she  had  fallen.  My 
one  lucky  shot,  entering  the  mouth,  had  blown  the 
top  of  her  head  off.  I  examined  the  magazine  of 
my  revolver  and  found  that  it  was  empty.  Then  I 
began  to  be  really  frightened. 

When,  upon  returning  to  camp,  I  related  the  ex- 
perience to  the  others,  Bert  at  once  asserted  that 
there  must  have  been  kittens  in  the  cave  I  had  at- 
tempted to  enter. 

"A  lion'd  never  stand  up  to  you,"  he  said,  "un- 
lessn'n  she'd  got  young  uns.  I'm  goin'  down  to- 
morrow and  get  them." 

He  was  as  good  as  his  word,  returning  next  eve- 
ning with  two  small,  fluffy,  tawny  creatures  and  the 
skin  of  the  old  one,  of  little  value  at  this  time  of  year. 
The  kittens  were  kept  for  a  short  time,  but  they  be- 
came troublesome  before  long  and  we  killed  them. 

As  for  myself,  I  took  good  care  after  this  to  keep 
my  gun  full  of  cartridges  and  an  extra  loaded  mag- 
azine in  my  pocket. 


IN  East  Canyon  we  camped  near  Tom  O'Brien's 
sawmill,  one  of  the  small  portable  outfits,  with  a  ca- 
pacity for  cutting  five  or  ten  thousand  feet  of  saw 
timber  per  day,  tbat  are  to  be  discovered  here  and 
there  in  the  Black  Range. 

The  proprietor  we  found  a  genial  soul  whose  in- 
terests seemed  to  centre  more  in  the  shooting  and 
trapping  of  "varmints "  than  in  the  lumber  industry. 
He  showed  us  several  good  bear  skins  that  he  wanted 
outrageous  prices  for  and  also,  which  was  more  in- 
teresting, a  tame  grizzly,  half  grown,  with  which  he 
was  on  alarmingly  intimate  terms.  He  boxed  and 
wrestled  with  his  huge  pet  for  our  benefit  but  warned 
us  at  the  same  time  that  he  was  the  only  person  for 
whom  these  pastimes  were  safe.  None  of  us  tested 
the  accuracy  of  the  statement  but  it  was  very  prob- 
ably true,  for  whenever  any  one  came  near  the 
boards  which  fenced  in  the  bear  his  reception  was 
somewhat  terrifying.  "  Teddy "  had  escaped  from 
his  pen,  0  'Brien  told  us,  more  than  once,  but  always 
turned  up  later  after  absences  of  varying  length. 

The  sawmill  was  not  an  imposing  affair,  but  we 
were  able  to  study  local  methods  and  costs  of  logging 



here  to  advantage  and  as  we  were  all  pretty  tired  at 
the  time  Frazer  decided  to  spend  a  week  or  ten  days 
in  the  locality,  going  over  the  O'Brien  timber  sale 
area  and  gathering  tree  growth  data.  During  this 
whole  period  the  rain  obligingly  held  off,  nor  did  it 
begin  again  till  we  had  moved  to  another  camp 
higher  in  the  range. 

Growth  study,  a  science  in  itself,  we  found  most 
interesting.  The  work  involved  counting  the  annual 
rings  on  each  tree  stump  left  by  the  wood-cutters  and 
a  measurement  of  the  stump  height.  From  these 
figures,  compiled  for  a  large  number  of  trees,  the 
size  of  a  tree  at  any  given  age  can  be  determined, 
or  conversely  one  can  estimate  how  many  years  it 
would  take  a  yellow  pine  or  Douglas  fir  to  attain,  on 
the  average,  a  specified  diameter.  An  examination 
of  "reproduction"  was  also  made  by  which  the  av- 
erage height  of  a  seedling  at  various  ages  was  esti- 

While  stopping  here  we  almost  lost  Bert,  a  calam- 
ity which  would  have  changed  the  whole  aspect  of 
things  for  us  for  the  rest  of  the  season. 

The  trouble  all  started  with  O'Brien's  hogs. 
They  developed  from  the  very  start  a  detestable 
penchant  for  hanging  around  camp.  And  though 
Bert  was  able  to  keep  them  at  bay  during  the  day,  at 
night  they  made  sleep  impossible  with  their  snort- 
ings  and  gurglings  and  squealings  and  the  loss  of 
self-respect  we  felt  at  their  propinquity. 

Every  evening   after   supper  we   would   gather 


stones  and  pile  them  near  our  beds.  Then  just  as 
we  started  to  doze  the  first  signals  of  the  coming 
conflict  would  sound.  From  down  the  creek,  from  up 
the  creek,  from  the  slopes  on  either  hand  swarmed 
the  vanguard  of  the  hog  battalions.  Black  hogs, 
white  hogs,  little  and  big,  all  sorts  and  conditions  of 
hogs,  swooped  down  in  a  vicious  spirit  of  evil  ca- 
maraderie upon  our  devoted  camp. 

Then  the  battle  would  join.  Stones  and  curses 
rained  upon  the  invaders.  A  perfect  bedlam  en- 
sued, the  terrified  cries  of  the  hogs  mingling  with 
the  shouts  and  execrations  of  our  party  and  the  fu- 
rious barking  of  the  dogs. 

For  our  dogs,  be  it  said  to  their  credit,  did  their 
part  nobly.  " Violet/'  the  bull-terrier,  "Nico- 
demus, ' '  the  thoroughbred  Airedale,  and  * i  Snip, ' '  the 
most  useful  of  the  lot,  who  according  to  Brown,  his 
master,  was  of  the  "just  dog"  strain,  charged  the 
hogs  time  and  again.  Each  sortie  had  the  same  re- 
sult. The  visitors  would  turn  and  run  off  as  fast  as 
they  could,  screaming  and  squealing  until  pursuit 
ceased.  The  dogs  would  then  return,  the  fusillade 
of  stones  cease,  and  all  would  be  as  silent  as  death, 
for  about  half  an  hour.  Then  again  from  up  the 
creek,  from  down  the  creek  and  from  all  round  about 
sounded  tentative,  experimental  grunts  and  gurgles 
and  we  knew  that  another  attack  was  beginning  to 
develop  and  end  in  the  same  manner  as  the  first — 
and  all  the  others. 

This  nightly  combat  was  hard  enough  on  all  of 


us,  but  Bert  had  to  spend  most  of  the  day  as  well 
fighting  the  intruders.  He  became  thin  and  worn 
looking.  The  strain  made  him  nervous. 

Finally  he  lost  patience.  He  procured  a  demi- 
john of  whiskey  from  O'Brien  and,  announcing  that 
he  had  "quit,"  started  to  drink  it  up  and  forget 
his  troubles.  He  unquestionably  succeeded  in  the 
former  endeavour  and  probably  in  the  latter  as  well, 
for  when  we  came  in  at  night  he  was  dead  to  the 
world.  "We  put  him  to  bed  and  Brown  cooked  sup- 

We  were  somewhat  worried  over  Bert's  reported 
declaration  of  desertion  but  Frazer  did  not  seem 

"He's  just  tired  out,"  the  chief  said,  "and  felt 
like  giving  his  nerves  a  good  time.  He'll  be  all  right 
in  the  morning.  Just  let  him  alone  to-night." 

We  were  perfectly  willing  to  accede  to  this  re- 
quest, but  the  stars  in  their  courses  determined 
events  otherwise.  That  night  there  was  a  bright 
moon  that  lighted  objects  for  some  little  distance. 
It  brought  out  the  forms  of  our  enemies,  the  hogs, 
so  clearly  that  we  were  able  to  bombard  them  ef- 
fectively enough  to  keep  them  out  of  camp  most  of 
the  time.  In  this  way  we  managed  to  get  consid- 
erable sleep. 

We  were  brought  out  of  one  of  the  longest  of 
our  slumber  spells  by  an  unearthly  scream  from  the 
cook  tent. 

"Take   'em  away!    Take    'em  away  for  God's 

W   a 

2  ^ 

pq   o 


w  3 

pq  •£ 

..       CO 

S  g 





sake!"  we  heard,  again  and  again,  in  a  voice  shrill 
with  terror. 

We  rose  at  once  and  ran  to  the  tent.  There  on 
his  bed  lay  Bert,  raised  on  one  elbow,  his  face 
ghastly  and  his  eyes  distended  and  staring  straight 
at  a  dark,  ungainly  shape  which  stood  swaying  up- 
right and  groping  its  laborious  way  toward  hia 
bed.  In  one  arm  it  held  aloft  a  formless  figure  drip- 
ping blood.  By  the  dim  uncanny  light  the  spectacle 
was  gruesome  enough.  We  stood  transfixed  with 
horror  as  the  monstrous  thing  advanced. 

Suddenly  Bert  uttered  a  wilder  shriek  than  all  and 
fell  over  unconscious.  At  the  same  moment  a  ray 
of  moonlight  shining  through  a  hole  in  the  roof  of 
the  tent  showed  us  O'Brien's  bear,  Teddy,  with  one 
of  those  fiendish  hogs,  evidently  just  killed,  clutched 
firmly  in  his  forepaws. 

As  Bert's  yells  ceased  the  bear  promptly  squatted 
down  and  began  to  eat  the  slaughtered  animaL 
Our  first  terror  vanished,  but  we  still  hesitated  about 
endeavouring  to  influence  Teddy's  actions,  much  as 
we  desired  his  absence.  Nor  did  we  wish  to  shoot 
him,  since  O'Brien  had  told  us  he  was  harmless  if 
left  alone.  We  were  finally  forced  to  send  for  his 
master,  who  tied  a  rope  around  his  neck  and  led  him 
home,  apologising  in  the  meantime  for  the  trouble 
he  had  caused. 

It  was  some  time  before  Bert  came  to.  He  imme- 
diately swore  never  to  touch  another  drop  of  liquor 
as  long  as  he  lived.  Unlike  most  such  pledges,  I  be- 


lieve  that  to  date  this  promise  has  been  kept.  He 
forgot  all  about  his  threat  to  quit  and  we  left  East 
Canyon  and  moved  to  lower  McKnight  in  a  few  days 
— a  great  relief  to  all. 

I  have  often  wondered  how  long  Bert  would  have 
stayed  had  we  disobeyed  Frazer's  orders  and  told 
the  cook  the  true  story  of  the  night's  occurrences,  in- 
stead of  allowing  him  to  continue  in  the  firm  belief 
that  he  had  suffered  from  delirium  tremens. 


THE  rain  began  again  as  soon  as  we  reached  Mc- 
Knight  Creek,  and  continued  during  all  the  time  we 
worked  that  canyon. 

In  the  very  first  camp  we  made  Horace  fell  ill. 
His  trouble  included  chills,  fever,  general  debility 
and  a  bad  cold.  Brown  called  it  "mountain  fever." 

The  patient  had  been  complaining  for  some  time 
of  various  pains  and  aches,  usually  after  a  hearty 
meal,  and  the  sympathy  we  might  have  felt  for  him 
was  minimised  by  the  fact  that  we  were  all  inclined 
to  attribute  the  condition  from  which  he  suffered  to 

None  of  us  had  delicate  appetites — our  work  pre- 
cluded that — but  we  were  well  aware  that  if  we  ate 
all  we  wanted  at  every  meal  catastrophe  would  fol- 
low surely.  Horace  alone  consistently  stuffed  him- 
self in  spite  of  our  warnings  and  the  collapse  of 
his  system,  we  felt,  was  simply  the  inevitable  result 
of  this  self  indulgence. 

But  the  sick  man  in  turn  ascribed  his  illness  to  the 
altitude,  the  water,  the  temperature  and  the  work,  to 
every  imaginable  reason,  in  fact,  but  the  obvious 
one.  He  suffered — and  incidentally  inflicted  suf- 
fering on  every  one  else — for  several  days.  Then, 



his  digestive  organs  having  rested,  he  began  to  grow 

Frazer  held  a  heart  to  heart  talk  with  him  as 
soon  as  he  was  convalescent. 

"I  think  you'd  better  get  ready  to  go,  Wetherby," 
the  chief  told  him,  "as  soon  as  you  feel  well  enough 
to  ride." 

Horace  was  dumbfounded. 

"W-why,  what's  the  matter ?"  he  stammered, 
scarcely  able  to  believe  his  ears. 

"Your  work  has  been  unsatisfactory,  that's  the 
matter, "  replied  the  chief,  bluntly.  "And  it's  be- 
cause you're  not  only  ignorant  of  what  you're  sup- 
posed to  do  but  because  you  won't  try  to  learn  any- 
thing about  it.  You've  got  an  idea  you  know  it  all 
in  advance.  You  won't  listen  to  men  who  have  for- 
gotten more  about  timber  than  you  could  learn  in  ten 
years.  You  undoubtedly  know  more  than  any  of  us 
in  certain  lines,  but  your  special  knowledge  is  of  no 
more  use  in  this  life  we're  leading  than  Brown's 
talents  would  be  if  he  were  placed  behind  the  steer- 
ing wheel  of  a  motor  car. 

"Don't  think  I'm  trying  to  rub  it  in.  I've  simply 
made  up  my  mind  to  let  you  go  and  I  want  you  to 
know  why.  Wallace  and  Conway  are  getting  sore 
on  the  deal.  It's  not  fair  to  have  them  do  part  of 
your  work  as  well  as  their  own,  and  that's  about 
what's  been  going  on  right  along.  So  as  soon  as  the 
packers  go  in  to  town  after  chuck  you  can  go  along 
with  them." 


"My  God!"  cried  the  sick  man,  as  he  saw  that 
Frazer  was  in  earnest.  '  *  Don 't  say  that !  I  thought 
I  was  doing  all  right,  but  I'll  work  harder  yet.  I'll 
do  superhumanly I  Just  try  me  once  more!" 

Frazer  did  not  relish  the  situation  at  all.  He  was 
used  to  handling  men  who  were  the  reverse  of  diffi- 
cult to  discharge.  More  often  than  not  they  antici- 
pated such  a  possibility  by  judicious  resignation. 

"I'll  tell  you  what  I'll  do,"  he  finally  agreed, "  I'll 
ask  Conway  and  Wallace  if  they'll  stand  for  another 
week  or  s.o  of  your  work,  and  if  they  want  to  take  a 
chance,  all  right." 

Horace  threatened  to  become  effusive  and  Frazer 
hastily  withdrew  to  consult  with  the  others.  The 
baseline  party,  after  some  discussion,  agreed  to  the 
probationary  arrangement  upon  one  condition. 
Wallace  stated  this  proposition  when  he  said : 

"I'll  guarantee  to  keep  Wetherby  in  good  shape  if 
he'll  throw  away  his  medicines  and  eat  sensibly.  If 
he  won't  agree  to  that  I  don't  want  him  around  at 

"That's  not  a  bad  idea,"  Conway  chimed  in. 
"There's  really  nothing  the  matter  with  Horace  but 
indigestion.  If  he's  willing  to  diet  and  work,  I'm 
willing,  for  my  part,  to  stand  him  a  while  longer." 

Of  course  Horace  protested  loudly  when  the 
scheme  was  proposed  to  him,  but  finally  yielded  to 
necessity.  He  cast  away  his  pills  and  powders, 
gloomily  prophesying  disease  and  death  as  a  result. 
He  promised  to  restrict  himself  in  the  matter  of 


food.  But  this  was  not  enough  for  Wallace,  who 
drew  up  on  a  sheet  of  note  paper  a  slender  menu 
and  presented  it  to  Horace  for  the  latter 's  guidance. 
Our  bill  of  fare  was  scarcely  confusing  in  its  variety, 
so  that  about  all  Wallace  did  was  to  limit  the  amount 
of  Wetherby 's  nourishment  for  each  meal.  Nor  did 
he  err  on  the  side  of  lavishness. 

Horace  took  the  schedule  and  read  it  with  care. 
His  face  lengthened  perceptibly. 

"  Oh,  gracious!  A  man  can't  live  on  that,  Wal- 
lace,'' he  expostulated.  "I  simply  can't  consider 
it,  it's  absurd!" 

The  Forest  Assistant,  an  equable  and  mild  youth, 
if  ever  there  was  one,  the  last  to  criticise  or  condemn, 
lost  patience  entirely  with  his  tent-mate. 

"You  make  me  tired,  Wetherby!"  he  exclaimed. 
"We're  giving  you  a  last  chance,  at  your  own  re- 
quest, and  at  the  slightest  hint  of  discipline  you  act 
as  if  you  were  being  martyred.  If  you  don't  want 
to  follow  instructions  I'm  through  with  you,  that's 

This  speech'  from  Wallace,  whom  Wetherby  had 
grown  to  consider  the  one  man  in  camp  who  did  not 
misunderstand  him,  was  a  crusher.  It  seemed  to 
really  get  to  Horace,  whose  armour  of  egotism  had 
been  heretofore  proof  against  adverse  criticism. 
He  walked  slowly  to  his  tent,  silent,  but  with  the 
schedule  clutched  dutifully  in  his  hand. 

Thereafter  he  followed  the  diet  grudgingly  but 
faithfully,  and  at  times  it  was  almost  painful  to  wit- 


ffi     U    >> 

O  y=:.S 
S    .2 


ness  the  care  and  anxiety  with  which  Horace  selected 
and  slowly  consumed  his  allowance  of  food.  Two 
spoonfuls  of  beans,  three  of  rice,  one  potato,  two 
slices  of  bread ;  everything  was  itemised  and  meas- 
ured. And  each  mouthful  was  swallowed  not  lightly 
or  absent-mindedly,  as  by  one  plethoric  and  careless 
of  his  abundant  riches,  but  in  the  silence  of  a  bitter 
concentration  which  grasped  desperately  at  the 
transient  and  elusive  joy.  Always  he  left  the  cook 
tent  immediately  after  a  meal,  to  escape  the  agony 
of  watching  others  eat. 

This  discipline,  hard  as  it  was  on  the  patient's 
emotions,  in  a  very  short  time  worked  wonders  in 
his  physical  condition.  During  working  hours  the 
improvement  was  noticeable  from  the  first. 

And  in  the  evening,  instead  of  flinging  himself 
down  on  his  bed  and  groaning  until  supper  time  he 
hovered  uneasily  in  the  vicinity  of  the  cook  tent  until 
Bert's  "Take  her  a-w-a-a-ay!"  announced  that  the 
meal  was  ready. 

All  the  known  circumstances  of  the  probationary 
experiment  were  discussed  freely  by  every  one,  both 
in  and  out  of  Wetherby's  presence.  It  had  come  to 
be  assumed  among  us  generally  that  he  had  no  pride, 
no  sensibility.  As  a  matter  of  fact  Horace  simply 
couldn't  conceive  of  any  one  making  game  of  him 
or  treating  his  pretensions  as  absurd.  But  now,  un- 
der the  goad  of  constant  ridicule,  it  was  apparent 
that  he  was  beginning  to  take  note  of  and  resent  the 
scarcely  veiled  amusement  and  contempt  of  his  co- 


workers.  The  night  he  got  lost  and  "  slept  out" 
brought  matters  to  a  head. 

No  one  knew  just  how  he  came  to  be  separated 
from  Wallace  and  Conway  that  evening.  As  it  was 
no  new  thing  for  him  to  drop  behind  and  catch  up 
with  them  later  they  thought  nothing  of  his  absence 
until  some  time  after  reaching  camp,  when  Horace 
still  failed  to  put  in  an  appearance. 

It  was  scarcely  probable  that  he  was  hurt,  we 
thought,  as  the  route  of  the  baseline  had  not  been 
particularly  rough.  But  a  night  in  the  woods  with- 
out a  bed  is  no  joke,  at  the  best,  and  we  were  in- 
clined to  feel  for  Horace  as  we  slipped  into  our 
warm  blankets,  a  little  later,  with  a  sympathetic 

A  storm  came  up  during  the  night  and  our  uneasi- 
ness increased.  With  all  our  guying  and  criticism 
of  the  missing  man,  no  one  now  really  disliked  him 
to  any  great  extent,  or  wished  him  any  injury.  We 
thought  of  him  rather  as  a  helpless  eccentric  than 
as  a  capable  irritant. 

Next  day  Frazer  met  the  general  mood  when  he 

"I'm  a  little  worried  about  Wetherby,  fellows! 
Let's  knock  off  work  this  morning  and  look  for  him." 

But  we  were  spared  the  necessity.  Shortly  after 
breakfast  the  "lost  goat,"  as  Conway  rather  un- 
kindly called  him,  returned  to  camp,  a  most  woe- 
begone spectacle.  His  wet  and  wrinkled  clothes, 


bleached  skin  and  hollow  eyes  gave  him  the  appear- 
ance of  a  shipwrecked  tramp. 

He  looked  at  us  anxiously,  apparently  nerving 
himself  for  a  siege  of  jollying. 

But  in  this,  I'm  glad  to  say,  he  was  disappointed. 
No  one  spoke  or  smiled  till  Frazer  said  cheerfully : 

"Well,  Horace,  how'd  you  make  it?  We  were 
just  going  out  to  look  for  you." 

"I've  had  a  dreadful  experience,"  replied  the 
wanderer,  huskily,  "I  forgot  to  take  any  matches 
with  me  and  it  was  frightfully  cold.  I'll  drink  a 
cup  of  coffee  and  change  my  clothes  and  get  ready 
to  go  out  if  the  fellows  will  wait  for  me." 

He  walked  heavily  to  his  tent,  leaving  us  with 
open  mouths  and  groping  minds.  The  thought  of 
Horace  actually  proposing  to  work  when  he  was  not 
expected  to,  dazed  us. 

"Holy  Mackinaw  Moses,"  cried  Bert  finally,  "no 
matches!  An'  he  slep'  out  in  that  storm.  It's  a 
wonder  he  ain't  froze  stiff." 

"And  he  expects  to  go  out  to-day,"  added  Con- 
way,  "he  must  be  crazy!" 

"Don't  worry,  I'll  see  that  he  stays  in  camp," 
said  Frazer  as  he  hastened  after  Wetherby. 

The  chief  divulged  later  what  happened.  To  be- 
gin with,  he  ordered  Horace  to  bed. 

"You're  in  no  condition  to  go  out  to-day,  Weth- 
erby," he  said.  "Just  forget  work  for  the  time  be- 
ing until  you've  rested  up  a  little !" 


"No,"  insisted  the  axeman,  "I'm  going  out  with 
the  others.  I  know  you've  all  got  me  sized  up  for  a 
joke,  and  I'm  sick  and  tired  of  it!  Not  that  you 
haven't  had  reason  for  thinking  as  you  do.  I  see 
that  now:  I  didn't  start  right.  Things  have  al- 
ways come  pretty  easy  for  me.  My  father  made  his 
own  way,  and  in  consequence  I've  always  had  every- 
thing I  needed  handed  to  me.  I've  never  been  up 
against  the  real  thing.  I've  never  had  a  chance  to 
get  on  to  myself.  I've  never  known  what  the  neces- 
sity for  real,  hard  work  was.  In  all  my  camping 
trips  before,  I've  had  men  with  me  to  do  the  actual 
labour.  They  kidded  me  along,  I  guess,  because  I — 
or  my  father,  rather — was  paying  for  it ;  and  all  the 
time  I  thought  I  was  getting  experience  and  becom- 
ing a  woodsman,  when  I  hadn't  even  begun  to  learn. 

"I've  made  a  fool  of  myself  on  this  trip,  I  sup- 
pose. It's  taken  me  a  good  while  to  get  on  to  it,  but 
I  can  see  now  how  you  fellows  look  at  it.  You  think 
I'm  no  earthly  good!  But  I'm  no  quitter,"  he  fin- 
ished, half  crying  with  angry  resolution,  "and  before 
the  season's  over  I'm  going  to  prove  it!" 

"That's  the  talk,  Horace,  old  top,  fly  to  it!"  cried 
Frazer  with  enthusiasm.  "If  you  keep  that  spirit 
you'll  find  everybody  trying  to  help  you,  instead  of 
joshing  you  all  the  time." 

"And  I  thought  he  was  yellow  clean  through," 
said  Frazer,  in  relating  the  incident.  "But  I  be- 
lieve he's  really  in  earnest!  If  he  shows  any  signs 


of  making  good  in  his  resolve  you  fellows  cut  out  the 
slapstick  stuff  and  give  him  a  chance ! ' ' 

So  Horace  worked  that  day.  And  from  then  on 
we  noticed  a  growing  change  in  his  conduct  and  de- 
meanour. He  became  another  person  altogether. 
And  though  improvement  in  actual  accomplishment 
was  slow,  the  new  attitude — the  apparent  recogni- 
tion of  his  shortcomings  and  his  evident  determina- 
tion to  overcome  them — won  a  measure  of  respect 
from  us  all. 


THE  rainy  season  proper  stopped  on  August  10,  as 
abruptly  as  it  had  begun.  Thereafter,  we  had  an 
occasional  storm,  it  is  true,  but  the  monotonous  cer- 
tainty of  rain  each  day  was  gone. 

We  had  just  about  completed  our  work  on  Mc- 
Knight  and  were  camped  at  the  time  near  the  head 
of  that  canyon,  but  still  on  the  west  side  of  the 
range.  Just  over  the  divide  to  the  eastward 
stretched  the  Animas  watershed.  We  had  hesi- 
tated to  cross  while  the  rain  lasted,  but  there  was  no 
reason  now  for  delay  in  attacking  that  country,  so 
preparations  for  the  move  were  at  once  made. 

I  for  one  was  glad  of  it.  We  had  heard  of  the 
Animas  country  so  often  and  with  such  a  wealth  of 
alarming  detail,  had  discussed  its  possibilities  so 
frequently,  and  were,  in  short,  so  obsessed  with  a 
nervous  dread  of  this  bugaboo  that  the  suspense  was 
becoming  wearing. 

We  moved  on  Monday  after  a  Sunday  of  rest. 
The  atmosphere  in  camp  that  morning  was  similar, 
I  imagine,  to  the  tension  of  a  squad  going  into  battle. 
The  smallest  details  of  the  day  are  printed  inefface- 
ably  upon  my  memory. 



I  was  awakened,  I  recall,  by  the  sound  of  an  axe. 
Peeping  out  from  under  the  tarp,  through  the  grey 
pall  of  dawn,  I  saw  Bert  vigorously  splitting  wood 
for  the  fire,  which  twinkled  and  smoked  as  if  just 
kindled.  It  was  a  sight  to  make  one  shiver  pleas- 
antly and  crawl  deeper  into  the  blankets.  I  lay  still 
for  a  while,  enjoying  to  the  full  the  languorous  mood 
that  comes  over  one  at  such  times. 

But  something  was  wrong.  I  became  for  some 
reason  uncomfortable.  A  shadow  in  the  background 
of  my  thoughts  took  shape  and  form.  The  Animas ! 
There  came  that  sinking  at  the  pit  of  the  stomach 
that  one  feels  before  a  race,  a  football  game,  or  a 


Bert's  "get  up"  scream  cut  the  silence  like  a 
siren.  No  time  now  for  nervous  imaginations  or 
forebodings !  Breakfast  was  on  the  way. 

Answering  screeches  lusty,  feeble,  sleepy,  hoarse, 
or  muffled,  came  from  the  tents  around.  One  by  one 
emerged  half  clad,  tousled,  yawning  forms,  making 
single-mindedly  for  the  wash  basins  by  the  creek. 

It  was  growing  lighter  now.  We  could  see  the 
sun  on  the  high  peaks,  though  the  canyons  were  still 
in  shade.  The  cook  fire  leapt  and  blazed.  We 
stood  in  a  half  circle  about  it,  soaking  up  the  grate- 
ful warmth. 

Suddenly  Bert's  voice  shrilled  once  more: 

'  '  Breffo !    Take  her  aw-a-ay ! ' ' 

The  summons  called  us  to  a  steaming  meal  of 


bacon,  beans,  potatoes,  coffee,  hot  biscuits  and 
"lick."  Our  spirits,  under  this  stimulus,  rose 
rapidly  to  normal.  Afterward  everybody  helped 
pack,  and  we  were  under  way  by  nine  o'clock. 

It  was  nearly  a  mile  from  camp  to  the  main  di- 
vide, a  gradual  slope  ending  in  an  abrupt  ascent  by 
a  zigzag  trail.  The  nervy  little  burros,  urged  on  by 
the  yells  of  the  entire  outfit,  made  the  climb  cleverly. 

The  saddle  crossed  was  narrow  and  steep.  As  we 
neared  the  top  we  saw  the  burros  ahead  worm  slowly 
upward,  stand  out  for  an  instant  one  by  one  against 
the  skyline,  then  quickly  disappear.  And  one  by 
one  the  rest  of  us,  following  in  single  file,  reached 
the  summit  and  stopped. 

I  shall  never  forget  that  first  sight  of  the  Animas ! 
We  were  on  a  bare  and  rocky  ridge.  No  timber 
grew  near  to  impede  the  vision.  For  weeks  we  had 
been  picturing  to  ourselves  this  scene,  but  now,  as 
we  looked  down  over  the  maze  of  pinnacles,  bluffs, 
rim-rock  and  boxes,  the  welter  of  formidable  ridges 
and  sharply  cut  canyons,  we  knew  that  nothing  of 
our  imagining  approached  this  terrific  fact  in  point 
of  wildness  or  magnificence. 

The  whole  great  watershed  lay  open  to  our  eyes. 
Timber  grew  thick  and  tall  in  the  canyons,  more 
sparsely  on  the  ridges,  but  the  entire  rocky  skeleton 
beneath  was  plainly  visible  in  outline.  We  saw  as 
on  a  map  the  network  of  waterways — veins  of  the 
drainage  system — that  carried  the  mountain  rain- 
fall and  snowfall  to  the  far  plains  of  the  Eio  Grande. 


The  burros  stood  out  for  a  moment  against  the  sky  line  and  one 
by  one  disappeared 


After  a  roll  down  the  mountain  with  a  sheer  drop  of  thirty  feet 

at  the  end 


For  miles  on  either  side,  north  and  south,  ridge  upon 
rolling  ridge  shot  out  from  the  main  range,  con- 
stantly decreasing  in  height  as  they  extended  east- 
ward. Between  them  were  the  canyons,  which,  be- 
ginning at  the  top  in  shallow  draws,  steep  and 
boulder  strewn,  etched  in  by  the  overflow  of  snow 
and  rain,  merged  ere  long  to  make  larger  creeks. 
These  in  turn,  further  down,  came  together  in 
ragged,  rocky  boxes,  where  sheer  cliffs  rose  dizzily, 
and  flowing  on  through  canyons  ever  wider  and 
deeper,  formed  the  main  rivers,  for  each  of  which 
its  respective  watershed  was  named. 

The  Animas  proper  was  the  chief  of  these  final 
streams.  The  river  bed  itself  was  not  visible  from 
where  we  stood,  but  we  could  see  the  high  walls  of 
the  canyon  through  which  the  stream  flowed,  and  be- 
yond the  first  confusion  of  mountains  where  the 
smaller  tributaries  came  together,  the  two  timber- 
covered  ridges  that  outlined  its  course.  Growing 
gradually  lower  and  lower,  these  ridges  flattened  at 
length  into  open  grassland,  where  the  canyon  seemed 
a  mere  dark  gash  in  the  soft  green  of  the  mesa. 

For  many  minutes  we  stood  silent,  rapt  in  the 
grandeur  of  the  scene.  No  wonder  the  Spaniards 
picturesquely  called  the  place  Las  Animas — the 
Canyon  of  the  Spirits.  Its  weird  majesty  seemed  to 
fit  the  name;  it  looked  a  true  abode  for  wandering 
souls  or  for  disembodied  beings. 

Bert's  matter  of  fact  utterance  at  last  broke  the 


"Holy  Mackinaw  Moses,"  he  ejaculated,  in  a 
tone  of  vast  respect,  "they's  all  the  original  fifty- 
seven  varieties  of  country  there,  ain't  they?" 

"It  shore  looks  like  a  piece  of  God's  careless- 
ness!" assented  Bob  Moak.  No  one  could  add  to 
that  comment. 

Our  intention  was  to  camp  on  the  main  stream, 
some  four  miles  from  the  top.  There  was  but  one 
trail  down,  and  that  none  of  the  best.  It  had  an 
alarming  habit  of  vanishing  at  every  particularly 
awkward  place,  as  if  its  former  users  had  been  pos- 
sessed of  wings  wherewith  to  fly  over  the  more  diffi- 
cult stretches.  At  times  we  encountered  obstacles 
that  taxed  even  the  ability  of  men  on  foot  to  sur- 
mount, but  the  packers  by  marvels  of  ingenuity  and 
resource  somehow  got  the  burros  through.  About 
noon  we  found  ourselves  on  the  last  ridge  before  the 
final  drop  to  the  bottom.  This  ridge  separated  the 
two  main  forks  of  the  Animas.  Where  they  came 
together  it  ended  in  a  high,  narrow,  precipitous 
point,  and  here  again  the  trail  stopped  abruptly. 
The  descent  seemed  impossible  but  we  had  to  get 
down  somehow  or  go  back  to  where  we  had  started. 
So  the  packers,  reconnoitring  the  edges,  chose  what 
seemed  the  least  of  many  evils  and  drove  the  burros 

Then  our  troubles  began.  The  shrewd  pack  ani- 
mals at  once  adopted  a  zigzag  course  of  descent  but 
even  then,  so  steep  was  the  slope,  they  could  scarcely 
keep  their  feet.  Luckily  the  surface  rock  was  cov- 


ered  witH  a  fairly  deep  humus  which  afforded  a 
foothold.  This  was  all,  I  verily  believe,  which  kept 
the  entire  outfit  from  immediately  sliding  pell-mell 
down  five  hundred  feet  of  mountain  side  to  the 

As  it  was  we  were  not  without  excitement  of  a  sort. 
Old  Bed  started  things  going.  She  carried  the  "of- 
fice boxes,"  large  wooden  kyacks  containing  in- 
struments, maps,  drawing  materials,  and  similar 
paraphernalia.  They  were  bulky  and  clumsy  enough 
on  a  level.  And  now  Bed  had  not  taken  ten  tenta- 
tive, mincing,  downward  steps  before  one  of  the 
ill-fated  affairs  caught  against  the  side  of  the  hill 
and  threw  the  burro  off  her  balance.  Over  she  went, 
sideways,  and  began  to  roll. 

"Good-bye  Bed,  good-bye  boxes!"  sang  out  Fra- 
zer,  dolefully.  It  seemed  as  if  they  were  doomed. 
But  as  luck  would  have  it,  the  falling  animal,  be- 
fore she  had  gathered  any  great  momentum,  collided 
with  a  small  tree,  stopped  abruptly  in  her  spectacu- 
lar flight,  regained  her  feet  and  scrambled  up  again 
to  where  the  others  were.  Nor  did  she  again  allow 
her  protruding  pack  to  interfere  with  an  orderly, 
if  slow,  descent. 

Me  thus  alum  was  the  next  victim  of  the  force  of 
gravity.  About  half  way  down  her  breeching  strap 
broke  and  the  pack  slipped  over  her  head.  She 
backed  out  of  the  harness  with  a  skilful  wriggle 
and  standing  unemotionally  by  watched  the  escaped 
burden  go  crashing  down  the  hill. 


Later,  as  we  neared  the  bottom  and  were  begin- 
ning to  breathe  more  freely,  Whitey,  who  carried  the 
dufflebags  belonging  to  X)onway  and  myself,  slipped 
and  went  down  hill  end  over  end  for  a  distance  of 
some  sixty  yards,  bringing  up  with  a  sheer  drop  of 
at  least  thirty  feet.  He  landed  on  his  back  with  a 
tremendous  thump,  the  pack  between  himself  and 
the  creek  bed,  and  lay  there  wedged  between  two 
rocks,  waving  his  feet  in  the  air  and  unable  to  turn 
over  until  we  arrived  at  the  bottom. 

"  There  goes  our  *  snake  bite  cure/  "  groaned  Con- 
way,  as  we  witnessed  Whitey 's  catastrophe.  For 
each  of  us  kept  a  flask  in  his  bag  against  emer- 
gencies and  it  certainly  seemed  as  if  nothing  break- 
able could  have  withstood  the  disintegrating  force 
of  that  whirlwind  descent.  Strange  to  say,  however, 
everything  was  found  in  good  shape,  including  the 
whiskey  and  Whitey  himself,  who  trotted  off  when 
released  with  no  apparent  injuries. 

This  ended  our  chapter  of  accidents  and  the  worst 
leg  of  the  move.  The  rest  was  comparatively  easy. 
The  canyon  soon  widened  and  we  struck  a  very  fair 
trail  that  led  us  about  five  o'clock  to  a  first  rate 
camping  ground. 


ALL  of  us  except  the  baseline  crew,  Wallace,  Con- 
way  and  Wetherby,  stayed  in  camp  a  few  days  on 
map  work,  while  the  baseline  was  brought  over  the 
top  from  McKnight  Canyon  and  extended  down  the 
canyon  of  the  Animas  to  where  we  lay. 

Our  few  days'  respite  from  physical  effort  waa 
welcome.  It  gave  us,  in  addition  to  the  rest,  an 
opportunity  to  examine  our  surroundings  at  leisure 
and  to  become  accustomed  to  the  sight  of  the  awe- 
some environment  in  which  we  found  ourselves — 
"  growing  a-climb-ated,"  Conway  called  it,  with  a 
tragic  effort  at  punning. 

"We  had  time  for  exploring  and  sight  seeing  in 
addition.  For  the  country  of  the  Animas  was  rich 
in  localities  connected  by  tradition  with  stirring 
events  of  Indian  and  outlaw  fighting.  We  visited 
among  other  places  "  Vic's  Park,"  a  pleasant,  open 
glade  on  the  very  top  of  a  high  mountain.  Here, 
in  frontier  days,  the  famous  Apache  war  chief  Vic- 
torio  was  followed,  it  is  said,  by  a  regiment  of  U.  S. 
regulars,  whom  he  ambushed  and  practically  an- 

One  of  the  few  survivors  was  a  negro  hors,e  wran- 



gler.  The  story  goes  that  this  man  afterward  told  a 
wonderful  tale  of  how,  while  hunting  horses  on  the 
morning  of  the  massacre,  he  ran  across  a  marvel- 
lously rich  mass  of  gold  bearing  "float  rock."  He 
exhibited  a  piece  of  this  as  evidence  of  the  truth  of 
his  story  and  announced  an  intention  of  returning 
before  long  to  find  the  main  vein.  But  he  disap- 
peared shortly  after  without  leaving  any  more  in- 
formation than  that. 

This  is  the  local  legend,  and  many  have  been  the 
hopeful  prospectors  to  toil  away  an  arduous  season 
in  fruitless  search  for  the  fabulously  rich  "  nigger 
diggins,"  as  they  were  called.  We  contributed  our 
mite  of  labour  to  this  myth,  but  found  no  gold. 
Brown,  however,  did  discover  in  Vic's  Park  an  old 
nearly  decomposed  army  pack  saddle,  and  nearby 
the  bones  of  the  animal  which  had,  we  supposed, 
carried  it. 

The  park  was  also  an  excellent  lookout  point.  The 
surrounding  country  could  be  seen  in  all  its  wild 
magnificence.  And,  as  we  gazed,  something  of  its 
wildness  seemed  to  disappear.  The  grandeur,  the 
compelling  solemnity  of  its  spacious  outlines,  entered 
our  souls.  There  was  a  strangely  familiar  effect 
apparent  in  the  shapes  of  the  vast,  eroded  rocks,  in 
the  slender  pinnacles,  the  pillar  like  cliff  formation, 
the  whole  grave  spirit  of  the  place.  Frazer  of  all 
of  us  first  hit  it  when  he  called  the  conception  of  the 
canyon  "Gothic."  That  was  it,  indubitably.  We 
were  amid  a  multitude  of  temples.  The  true  spirit 

H  *3, 


y  g-S 

5  sg- 
<  -0:2 


of  the  Gothic,  apparent  everywhere,  sobered  us  like 
the  distant  chords  of  a  great  organ. 

One  view  in  particular  suggested,  through  the 
magic  of  the  surroundings  and  the  softening  atmos- 
phere, the  famous  cathedral  of  Milan.  The  rock 
walls  rose  mistily  blue  against  the  sky,  delicate  as 
the  work  of  fairies.  Buttresses  gleamed  in  the  sun, 
great  arches  shone  as  they  shouldered  the  mass  of 
intricate  ornamentation,  of  pinnacles  and  points, 
that  topped  the  whole.  Then  as  we  looked  the  sun 
hid  behind  a  cloud,  the  glistening,  lacelike  details 
were  blotted  out  in  a  wave  of  darkness  and  the  form- 
less face  of  mystery,  sombrely  impassive,  stared  us 
into  insignificance  and  awe. 

"We  were  glad,  strange  as  it  may  seem,  when  the 
day  came  for  cruising.  Several  things  accounted 
for  this.  In  the  first  place  we  had  rested  thor- 
oughly and  were  feeling  the  need  of  hard  work  once 
more.  Then,  too,  conditions  in  camp  were  most  un- 
comfortable. We  had  descended  to  an  altitude  of 
less  than  six  thousand  feet  and  for  the  first  time  dur- 
ing the  summer  began  to  suffer  from  the  heat. 

All  day  the  sun  burned  down  wickedly.  No  rain 
came  to  cool  the  air.  Even  at  night,  which  seemed 
strangely  unjust  to  us,  it  was  warm  and  sultry  and 
we  slept  poorly. 

To  make  matters  worse  all  the  flies  and  yellow 
jackets  in  the  world  seemed  to  have  appointed  our 
camp  a  rendezvous.  Our  sun  baked  sleeping  tents 
looked  now  like  hives,  now  like  well  filled  fly  traps. 


The  cook  tent  was  black  and  swarming  with  the 
little  pests.  They  covered  the  food  like  a  pall,  they 
committed  unpleasant  suicide  in  the  coffee  or  the 
soup,  it  was  worth  a  sting  or  so  to  pass  the  sugar 
or  jam,  and  eating  soon  became  for  us  the  most  irk- 
some task  of  the  whole  twenty-four  hours. 

Our  nerves  and  our  dispositions  suffered  from 
these  things.  We  were  therefore  distinctly  relieved 
when  the  baseline  came  at  last  into  camp  and  work 
was  assigned  for  the  following  day.  The  runs  here 
were  planned  to  extend  north  and  south;  up  the 
high,  steep  ridges  that  shut  in  the  stream  and  over 
into  the  cut  up,  rough  country  beyond  where  moun- 
tains and  rocky  spurs  tossed  like  waves  in  a  choppy 

.When  I  reached  my  first  station  next  morning  and 
glanced  upward  at  the  prospect  before  me  it  seemed 
impossible  that  one  could  ever  win  to  the  top  of  the 
first  ridge.  There  was  no  hope  in  offsetting.  On 
either  side  it  was  surely  as  bad,  perhaps  worse.  One 
must  simply  make  a  beginning  and  trust  to  luck. 

So  I  started  on  the  arduous  ascent,  working  slowly 
up  crevices  in  the  bluffs,  carefully  crossing  the 
broken  surface  of  huge  rock  slides  liable  at  a  false 
move  to  go  rumbling  to  the  bottom  bearing  the  un- 
wary intruder  haplessly  upon  the  stony  crest,  and 
up  steep,  bare  slopes  so  sharp  that  only  by  the 
timely  aid  of  shrubs  and  stunted  trees  could  one  rise 
at  all.  It  was  hours  before  I  even  approached  the 
top.  Below,  a  thousand  feet  and  more,  ran  the  river 


I  had  left.  Above  remained  some  fifty  feet  of  rim- 
rock,  almost  perpendicular,  but  not  difficult  to  ne- 
gotiate provided  one  kept  a  cool  head.  Yet  just 
here,  with  the  long  climb  almost  over,  a  thoughtless 
moment  brought  me  as  close,  I  think,  to  sudden  death 
as  I  have  ever  knowingly  been. 

I  was  two-thirds  up  the  rampart  of  rock,  resting 
on  a  little  ledge  some  eight  inches  wide  and  clasp- 
ing with  both  arms  a  pillar  of  stone  whose  pointed 
top  stretched  two  feet  above  my  head.  It  seemed 
firm  enough  for  my  purpose,  which  was  to  pull  my- 
self up  on  this  until  I  had  gained  a  crevice,  just 
above,  that  promised  to  make  the  rest  easy.  As  a 
rule  we  always  tested  the  stability  of  a  support  be- 
fore trusting  our  entire  weight  to  it,  for  in  a  great 
many  instances  the  fault,  a  peculiarity  of  formation, 
splits  a  slab  from  the  main  body  so  that  a  touch  or 
a  pull  will  dislodge  it.  But  this  time,  careless  with 
the  thought  of  imminent  success,  I  quite  neglected 
such  precautionary  measures. 

I  reached  above,  grasped  the  top  of  the  oblong 
rock  and  with  a  sharp  heave  raised  myself  with  my 
arms.  As  I  did  so  the  supposedly  solid  mass  gave 
with  my  weight.  For  an  empty  moment  I  felt  my- 
self falling  backward.  There  was  no  time  to  cal- 
culate. By  a  lucky  instinct  I  glanced  to  the  right, 
spied  what  seemed  to  be  a  narrow  foothold  a  few 
feet  away  and  leapt  for  it. 

It  held !  And  as  I  clung  there,  suspended  above 
the  abyss,  I  heard  the  great  block  I  had  dislodged  a 


moment  before  go  crashing  down  the  dizzy  slope 
followed  by  continually  fainter  and  more  prolonged 

I  felt  my  knees  begin  to  weaken  and  realised,  as 
clearly  as  if  I  were  another  person,  that  I  was  very 
much  frightened.  I  dared  not  look  below.  Nor 
could  I  see  much  chance  to  ascend;  but  it  was  sui- 
cide to  remain  where  I  was.  It  seemed  an  age — 
really  it  couldn't  have  been  more  than  a  few  sec- 
onds— before  I  moved.  Every  nerve  was  tightly 
strung,  every  faculty  at  highest  tension,  focus sed 
with  straining  single  mindedness  upon  the  one  de- 
sire to  scale  the  ten  or  twelve  feet  of  stone  that 
loomed  between  me  and  safety. 

I  don't  know  yet  just  how  I  reached  the  top  of  the 
ledge.  So  intent  was  I  upon  the  task  that  I  was 
unconscious  of  anything  else.  Slowly  from  cranny 
to  cranny,  from  crevice  to  crumbly  ledge,  I  pro- 
gressed till  at  length  I  felt  the  top  with  extended 
hands.  One  careful  pull,  one  cautious  last  exertion 
and  I  fell  forward  with  a  gasp  of  relief  and  gave 
way  to  those  wretched  sensations  that  I  had  man- 
aged to  ignore  until  safe. 

It  was  a  long  time  before  I  resumed  my  run.  And 
it  was  days  before  I  recovered  from  the  effects  of 
this  adventure.  As  a  matter  of  fact  I  don't  be- 
lieve I  ever  did  quite  overcome  a  tendency  to  nerv- 
ousness that  often  caught  me  later  at  unexpected 
moments.  Sometimes  when  clambering  over  cliffs 
that  earlier  in  the  season  would  have  been  mere 


child's  play  I  would  feel  that  sudden  faintness, 
that  suspicion  of  nausea,  which  preceded  a  fit  of 
"the  trembles,"  and  would  have  to  stop  in  my  tracks, 
a  prey  to  the  most  miserable  sensations,  until  it  was 
over.  I  used  to  force  myself  to  climb  the  same  place 
over  and  over  in  an  effort  to  conquer  this  weakness, 
but  it  was  not  of  much  use.  Even  to-day  when  I 
stand  in  a  high  place  and  look  down  a  wave  of  diz- 
ziness comes  over  me. 

The  rest  of  my  run  was  as  hard  as  any  I  had 
hitherto  encountered.  Up  and  down  hill  all  day, 
one  ridge  after  another,  brush,  dead  and  down  stuff, 
locust  and  manzanita.  I  got  back  to  camp  at  seven 
and  found  that  I  had  not  been  alone  in  my  discom- 
fort. Each  cruiser  had  tales  to  unfold  of  brush  and 
heat  and  giant  hills  and  impossible  situations  finally 

Yet  through  the  chorus  there  was  a  note  of  cheer- 
fulness, of  buoyancy  even.  We  had  at  last  come  to 
grips  with  the  bugbear  of  our  season's  task  and  won 
the  first  bout.  Henceforth  there  might  be  hard 
work  in  plenty,  but  never  again  would  we  feel  fear 
of  our  enemy,  that  haunting,  superstitious  dread 
that  the  Animas  had  inspired.  Our  imaginations 
were  on  our  side  now ! 


THE  month  that  followed  our  invasion  of  the  Animas 
is  one  which  I  have  been  trying  ever  since  to  for- 
get. Everything  disagreeable  that  could  be  imag- 
ined seemed  to  occur  during  this  period ;  ther6  were 
no  redeeming  features  to  the  experience.  It  was  a 
nightmare  and  no  mistake.  To  begin  with,  the  coun- 
try we  covered  was  consistently  disheartening  to 
cruise.  It  was  as  bad,  if  not  worse,  than  the  sample 
of  the  first  day.  The  east  slope  seemed  all  of  a 
piece.  Eagged,  stony,  cactus  covered  ridges,  cliffs 
interminable,  a  wretched,  sun-baked,  desolate  stretch. 
There  was  good  timber  in  the  canyons,  and  cord- 
wood  upon  the  ridges,  but  the  chief  reason  why  Fra- 
zer  covered  this  township  at  all  was  to  get  the  coun- 
try mapped  so  that  the  Supervisor  could  use  our  data 
in  the  administration  of  that  district.  For  the 
watershed  is  an  important  one  and  the  cattle  and 
sheep  grazing  privileges  thereon,  as  well  as  the  dis- 
posal of  the  timber,  is  handled  by  the  Forest  Serv- 

The  heat  continued  and  made  what  might  other- 
wise have  been  considered  merely  a  case  of  neces- 
sary extra  exertion  a  veritable  time  of  torment. 



The  flies,  too,  and  the  yellow  jackets,  were  insuffer- 
able. Altogether  it  was  not  long  before  we  were  in 
a  condition  of  nervous  and  physical  exhaustion  bor- 
dering on  hysteria. 

We  had  but  one  idea,  to  finish  this  desolate  coun- 
try as  soon  as  it  was  humanly  possible  to  do  so. 
Each  morning  we  woke  from  uneasy  sleep  tired  and! 
listless.  Our  legs  seemed  lead,  our  feet  fastened  to 
the  ground.  As  the  day  wore  on  we  felt  better  and 
in  consequence  almost  invariably  overtaxed  our 
strength  before  night  so  that  we  reached  camp  thor- 
oughly fatigued,  too  far  gone  sometimes  to  care 
even  for  food. 

We  lost  weight  rapidly.  Every  face  had  a  drawn, 
gaunt  look,  and  our  nerves  were  in  shreds.  Quar- 
rels were  only  avoided  by  limiting  communication 
to  an  exchange  of  mere  necessary  civilities — them- 
selves none  too  civil.  Night  after  night  we  dragged 
in,  ate  in  sullen  silence  and  went  immediately  to  our 
tents,  where  we  lay  as  quietly  as  might  be  until  dark- 
ness drove  the  flies  to  their  unholy  rest  and  afforded 
us  a  chance  to  sleep. 

Horace,  which  surprised  us  not  a  little,  seemed  to 
be  affected  by  the  temperature  and  the  work  least 
of  any  one.  Whether  this  was  due  to  his  naturally 
splendid  constitution,  given  a  chance  to  assert  itself 
by  Wallace's  regimen,  or  grew  out  of  his  recent 
determination  to  make  good  in  his  work,  or  whether 
it  sprang  from  a  fundamentally  amiable  disposition 
or  was  simple  perversity  no  one  could  decide.  The 


fact  remained,  however,  that  during  this  trying  time 
Wetherby  played  the  role  of  Little  Sunshine  with 
something  approaching  success,  and  if  not  inva- 
riably blessed  therefor,  at  least  did  not  receive  more 
than  his  proportionate  share  of  abuse  and  vilifica- 

We  finished  the  Animas  watershed  in  less  than  two 
weeks,  then  crossed  the  divide  north  and  camped 
in  the  canyon  of  the  Seco.  The  work  here  was  prac- 
tically a  repetition  of  what  we  had  just  been  through, 
with  the  pleasant  added  interest  of  rattlesnakes. 

During  the  earlier  part  of  the  season  we  had  oc- 
casionally run  across  a  snake,  but  it  was  an  event 
when  it  occurred,  a  matter  to  be  recounted  at  night 
in  all  its  details.  We  were  thrown  into  mortal  ter- 
ror by  the  angry  song  of  a  diamondback.  Our 
course  through  brush,  over  rocks,  or  in  fact  in  any 
locality  where  snakes  might  be  expected,  was 
marked  by  great  circumspection.  And  if  the  dry 
"b-r-r-r-r-"  for  which  we  momently  waited  did  ac- 
tually sound,  our  excitement  was  real  and  prolonged. 

In  the  Animas,  snakes  were  an  everyday  occur- 
rence. And  while  at  first  we  went  in  fear  and  trem- 
bling, later  on  we  grew  used  to  them — to  a  certain 
extent — and  did  not  mind  so  much. 

I  have  always  thought  that  Bert  was  responsible 
for  the  greater  part  of  our  initial  terror.  As  soon 
as  it  was  evident  that  snakes  were  out  he  thought 
up  a  set  of  appropriate  yarns.  The  first  one  came 
the  evening  after  the  discovery  of  a  small  rattler 


which  Conway  and  I  found  a  few  feet  from  the  door 
of  our  tent.  We  were  retailing  the  incident  with  a 
sense  of  importance.  This  was  Bert's  opportunity: 

"You  want  to  be  careful  every  night, "  he  re- 
marked casually,  "to  look  in  your  bed.  Them  rat- 
tlers is  shore  tickled  to  git  in  a  feller's  blankets.  It 
warms  'em  up  like.  Of  course,  if  you  git  in  with 
'em  and  rile  'em  enny  they  might  hurt  ye.  It's  al- 
ways best  to  look." 

We  must  have  looked  depressed,  for  Bert  seemed 
pleased.  After  a  moment  he  resumed: 

"Ef  you  only  had  a  horsehair  rope  with  you  all 
it'd  be  safer.  Stretch  one  of  'em  around  a  tent  and 
a  snake '11  never  cross  it.  I  rec'lect  how  a  partner 
of  mine  a 'most  got  bit  for  not  doing  it  once." 

Of  course  we  clamoured  for  the  story.  We  had 
to,  in  self-defence. 

"  'Twa'n't  much,"  disclaimed  Bert,  "as  it  turned 
out.  We  wuz  in  a  snake  country  and  I  'd  been  sleepin ' 
with  a  hair  rope  round  my  bed  just  to  be  on  the 
safe  side.  My  pardner,  fellow-by-name-of-Jenkins, 
laughed  at  it.  He  warn't  afraid  of  no  snakes,  not 

"Well,  come  a  moonlight  night  a  few  evenings 
later,  and  I  couldn't  sleep  nohow.  Jest  tossed  one 
way  an'  another  all  night.  Long  about  one  or  two 
o'clock,  I  reckon  it  was,  I  looked  over  at  Jenkins, 
sleepin'  peaceful  like.  Thar  in  the  moonlight,  right 
at  the  head  of  his  bed,  I  see  something  bright  a- 
shinin'  an'  glistenin'. 


"I  couldn't  for  the  life  of  me  make  out  what  it 
was,  so  I  raised  up  on  one  elbow  and  as  I  did  I  see 
a  shinin'  head  rise  up,  too,  right  by  Jenkins'  face. 

"Lordy,  it  give  me  a  start.  'Twas  a  rattler  shore 
enough,  an'  a  plumb  wicked  lookin'  varmint,  big 
around  as  my  wrist.  'Twas  quiled  up  for  warmth, 
cuddled  on  the  edge  of  a  blanket,  snug's  you  please. 

"When  the  snake  seen  me  move  it  must  have  got 
scairt,  for  it  started  glidin'  off  silent  and  smooth. 
An'  I'm  blessed  if  twan't  crawlin'  away  from  me 
right  across  Jenkins9  face. 

"He  hadn't  moved  yet,  but  all  of  a  sudden  he  give 
a  little  start,  just  the  littlest  kind  of  shiver,  an'  then 
lay  still  again.  But  when  I  looked  at  him  now  his 
eyes  was  open,  wide  an'  stary,  and  I  knew  he  was 
on  to  what  was  happenin'. 

"  'Lay   still,'   I  whispered,   *  don't   you  move!' 

"I  didn't  never  know  whether  he  heered  me  or 
not,  because  at  the  time  he  didn't  have  much  chance 
of  showin'  it  ef  he  had  an'  later  I  forgot  to  ask. 
But  he  shore  kep'  still.  Didn't  even  wink  his  eyes 
while  that  there  big  rattler  was  slippin'Tiis  six 
feet  of  scaly  hide  acrost  his  count 'nance. 

"It  must  'a  felt  curyus  while  'twas  goin'  on. 
Jenkins  said  afterward  it  sounded  like  a  big  wind 
blowin'  mournful  through  the  trees.  But  Jenkins 
was  always  a  turr'ble  liar,  so  you  couldn't  depend 
much  on  what  he  said." 

Here  Bert  stopped  as  if  the  tale  was  finished.    He 



smoked  reflectively  at  the  fire.  After  a  decent  in- 
terval had  elapsed  some  one  asked : 

"What  happened  then?" 

Bert  looked  his  reproach  at  the  questioner. 

' '  What  happened  then  I  Why  no  thin '.  Of  course, 
as  soon  as  the  snake  got  a  little  bit  away  we  up 
an'  kilt  him.  What  I  wuz  tryin'  to  tell  you  was 
about  that  there  horse  hair  rope.  Y'  ought-a  al- 
ways carry  one  with  you." 

None  of  us  had  a  horse  hair  rope,  nor  did  we 
know  how  such  an  article  could  be  secured.  But  for 
some  nights  we  took  good  care,  when  no  one  else  was 
looking,  to  examine  our  beds  for  possible  intruders. 

After  a  little  time  our  first  nervousness  wore  off. 
We  became  largely  indifferent  to  rattlers  as  soon 
as  we  realised  that  they  were  more  afraid  of  us 
than  we  were  of  them.  The  experience  of  run- 
ning upon  them  became  commonplace  and  not  worthy 
of  remark  unless,  indeed,  the  circumstances  held  a 
special  thrill,  as  once  when  Frazer,  climbing  a  cliff, 
poked  his  head  above  a  flat  rock  and  looked  into  the 
cold  eyes  of  a  giant  rattler  a  foot  from  his  face, 
or  when  Bob  Moak  was  struck  twice  on  the  boot  by 
a  snake  on  which  he  had  inadvertently  trodden. 

It  was  August,  the  time  that  skins  were  shed,  and 
the  half-blind  reptiles  struck  more  quickly  and  with 
less  provocation  than  at  any  other  time  of  year; 
but  even  so  the  danger  of  being  wounded  was  neg- 
ligible unless  one  actually  stepped  on  a  snake  or 


came  upon  one  unawares,  before  an  effective  warn- 
ing could  be  sounded. 

As  an  antidote  in  case  of  accident  we  carried  a 
small  vial  of  potassium  permanganate  in  each  com- 
pass case,  so  that  we  felt  doubly  safe.  Indeed, 
our  carelessness  toward  the  last  brought  us  into 
many  a  dangerous  situation  when  only  a  quick,  in- 
stinctive backward  leap,  a  duck  of  the  head,  or  an 
abrupt  halt  saved  us  from  playing  the  part  of  pin- 
cushion to  the  fangs  of  a  waiting  enemy. 


FROM  the  Seco  we  moved  north  to  Palomas  Creek, 
where  we  made  three  camps. 

We  were  nearing  the  end  now  of  our  east  work 
and  our  efforts  to  make  the  best  speed  possible  were 
increased,  if  that  could  be,  by  the  discovery  that  the 
supply  of  chuck  on  hand  was  nearly  exhausted.  It 
was  a  week's  trip  with  the  burros  to  Kingston,  and 
as  we  moved  every  few  days  the  pack  outfit  could  not 
be  spared  long  enough  to  bring  out  supplies.  Un- 
less, indeed,  we  halted  where  we  were  and  mapped 
in  camp  till  the  burros  could  make  the  journey.  But 
we  had  had  one  experience  of  this  sort  in  the  Animas, 
and  one  was  enough.  We  voted  to  keep  on  till  we 
could  make  camp  on  top,  a  few  thousand  feet  higher, 
and  do  our  waiting  there. 

In  the  meantime  our  slender  stores  dwindled  and 
'day  by  day  we  came  to  the  end  of  one  sort  of  food 
after  another.  Canned  fruits  and  vegetables  went 
first,  milk  and  butter  next,  finally  the  last  of  the 
sugar  and  the  jams  disappeared.  We  were  partic- 
ularly sorry  to  see  the  latter  go,  as  all  through  the 
season  we  had  felt  a  consistent  craving  for  the 
energy  producing  sweets  and  we  could  find  nothing 



now  that  would  make  even  a  fair  substitute.  At 
noon  we  suffered  most.  We  were  accustomed  to 
take  with  us  only  a  couple  of  jam  sandwiches,  but 
though  the  amount  of  lunch  was  small,  we  missed  it 
greatly,  and  scarcely  ate  the  bread  and  bacon  we 
tried  instead. 

At  last  we  left  Palomas  and  moved  north  again 
to  Morgan  Creek.  This  was  a  small  stream  in  a 
narrow,  rocky  canyon,  that  drained  about  the  rough- 
est and  wildest  patch  of  country  we  had  seen.  But 
we  went  at  it  hopefully  for  we  could  see  from  the 
ridge  the  goal  of  our  present  ambition,  the  boundary 
line  which  marks  the  northern  limit  of  the  Gila  and 
the  beginning  of  the  Datil  National  Forest. 

In  less  than  a  week  we  were  through.  Tired  in 
muscles  and  in  nerves,  weak  from  overwork,  insuffi- 
cient food  and  the  heat,  we  still  felt  cheerful — for 
the  east  side  was  done.  During  the  last  few  days 
we  worked  on  bacon  and  beans,  but  did  not  much 
care.  We  had  completed,  we  knew,  a  difficult  task, 
asking  no  odds  of  circumstances,  and  we  jubilated 
feebly  but  wholeheartedly  at  its  conclusion. 

And  when  we  hit  the  long  trail  to  the  top,  when, 
as  we  ascended,  the  grateful  coolness  of  the  air  from 
the  heights  struck  our  faces,  when  a  little  later  we 
smelled  again  the  damp,  delicious  odour  of  the  firs 
and  entered  the  soft  twilight  of  the  heavy  forest,  we 
breathed  a  huge  breath  of  relief.  The  change  had 
the  refreshing  quality  of  a  bath  after  a  wrestling 
bout,  of  rain  following  a  long  dry  spell. 

ON  TOP  AGAIN  139 

Our  week's  holiday  on  top — for  such  it  seemed 
though  we  worked  steadily  on  our  maps — did  us  all 
a  world  of  good.  We  were  camped  on  a  little  rise 
at  the  very  summit  of  the  range  in  a  pretty  grove 
of  aspen.  The  camp  spring  was  at  the  head  of  a 
tiny  draw,  which,  growing  larger  and  ever  larger 
in  its  winding  descent  formed  finally  the  Black 
Eiver,  one  of  the  largest  and  most  picturesque 
streams  of  the  west  side. 

These  surroundings,  after  our  recent  debilitating 
environment,  seemed  ideal.  The  days  were  clear 
and  cool,  the  nights  distinctly  chilly.  We  needed  all 
our  blankets  to  keep  warm,  but  the  change  had  the 
effect  of  making  us  sleep  like  dead  men,  to  awake 
each  morning  vastly  refreshed  and  half  famished. 

The  question  of  food,  however,  became  rather 
serious.  The  packers  left  for  supplies  as  soon  as 
camp  was  made,  but  we  were  nearly  out  of  chuck 
then  and  a  week  is  a  long  fast  when  one  is  as  hungry 
as  we  were.  The  situation  was  aggravated  by  the 
fact  that  the  woods  around  us  swarmed  with  wild 
turkey.  Every  morning  we  were  awakened  by  the 
"ob-bullob-bullob-bulloble"  which  proclaimed  their 

One  morning,  as  we  came  out  of  our  tents,  we 
were  just  in  time  to  see  Bert  taking  careful  aim  with 
a  22  rifle  at  some  dark  body  in  a  fir  not  ten  yards 
from  the  cook  tent.  Before  he  could  shoot  a  flock 
of  at  least  ten  turkeys,  alarmed  by  our  movements, 
flew  out  of  the  tree  and  disappeared  in  the  forest. 


Frazer  was  rather  put  out  over  the  incident. 

"You  ought  to  know  better  than  that,  Bert,"  he 
exclaimed.  "I  simply  can't  stand  for  any  killing 
of  game  out  of  season.  I've  got  to  fire  the  first  man 
that  does  it,  no  matter  who  it  is." 

"Well,  why  can't  them  turkeys  keep  away  an' 
leave  me  alone, "  grumbled  Bert.  "I  wasn't  both- 
erin'  them  none  when  they  came  right  up  to  the  cook 
tent  and  started  joshing  me.  I  don't  suppose  if  I 
was  to  meet  one  in  th'  road  an'  he  run  up  an'  bit 
me  I'd  have  a  right  to  defend  myself. " 

Thereafter,  though  our  appetites  increased  daily 
and  the  turkeys  were  as  thick  as  ever,  no  one  at- 
tempted to  molest  them.. 

We  were  helped  out  of  our  predicament  by  old 
man  Reed,  known  as  the  "Hermit  of  Black  Can- 
yon," who  brought  us  from  his  ranch,  a  short  half 
mile  away,  a  welcome  supply  of  potatoes,  string 
beans,  cabbage  and  other  vegetables  which  flourished 

He  was  called  a  recluse,  but  his  attitude  toward 
us  was  most  un-hermitlike.  He  came  over  to  camp 
every  evening,  his  daily  offering  of  eatables  in  a 
gunnysack  over  his  shoulder.  We  were  always  glad 
to  see  him  and  that  not  altogether  on  account  of  the 
addition  to  our  stores  his  arrival  meant.  Each 
night  he  sat  and  talked  with  us  a  while  before  leav- 
ing and  his  graphic  stories  of  early  days  in  the 
hills,  of  Indian  fighting  and  adventures  with  big 
game,  were  absorbingly  entertaining. 

ON  TOP  AGAIN  141 

If  the  Hermit's  unexpected  sociability  surprised 
us,  we  were  totally  unprepared  for  his  appearance 
and  demeanour.  Eumour  had  painted  him  a  fear- 
some person.  His  reputed  exploits  were  many  and 
terrible.  He  had  come  here  thirty  years  ago,  they 
said,  broken  down  in  health  and  finances,  had  settled 
on  his  inaccessible  homestead  and  held  it  ever  since 
despite  all  manner  of  obstacles  contrived  both  by 
man  and  Nature,  each  year  adding  new  land  to  that 
already  under  cultivation,  cutting  deeper  into  the 
surrounding  forest  and  carving  his  domain  inch  by 
inch  from  the  stubborn  wilderness  about  him. 

We  thought  to  see  a  huge,  half  wild  savage,  but 
Eeed  was  small,  mild  in  appearance,  easy  and 
gentle  in  manner  and  voice.  He  was  essentially 
commonplace.  One  could  have  imagined  him  sitting 
on  a  cracker  box  in  some  New  England  village  gro- 
cery, discussing  politics  and  local  issues.  Bert's 
designation  of  him  as  a  "Hilltop  Beuben"  seemed 
appropriate.  Yet  from  all  accounts,  others  as  well 
as  his  own,  his  had  been  an  adventurous  existence, 
replete  with  thrilling  encounters  and  hairbreadth  es- 
capes from  death. 

It  struck  me  that  his  life  nowadays  must  be  tame 
and  rather  lonely.  But  he  quickly  dispelled  this 

"Lonesomeness  is  nothin'  but  a  habit,"  he 
averred  in  answer  to  a  suggestion  along  this  line. 
"When  I  first  came  here  I  was  too  busy  with  the 
yarmints  and  mebbe  once  in  a  while  an  Indian  or 


so,  to  get  very  lonely.  Then  arter  a  while  I  found 
I'd  forgot  how  to  be. 

"  Course  I  like  to  see  people  once  in  a  while,  to 
kind  of  git  my  tongue  loosed  up;  but  when  they're 
gone  I  don't  never  miss  them  none." 

Despite  this  assurance  I  suspected  a  hidden  trag- 
edy, some  old  romance,  beneath  the  Hermit's  blithe 
exterior,  to  account  more  fully  for  his  voluntary  and 
continued  exile  here  on  the  very  top  of  the  dark 

I  hinted  as  much  later  to  Brown,  who  knew  old 
man  Reed  well,  but  he  scouted  the  idea. 

"He  jest  lives  up  here  because  he  likes  it.  He 
struck  a  good  thing  and  helt  onto  it.  They  hain't 
nothin'  else  he  could  make  such  a  good  livin'  out'n. 

"That's  one  thing  your  National  Forest  is  doin'," 
reflectively  added  the  packer,  who  in  general,  more 
to  irritate  us  if  possible  than  for  any  other  reason, 
affected  to  look  with  scepticism  upon  the  value  of 
Service  work.  "I  gotta  say  you're  givin'  the  reel 
settler  a  chance.  Of  course  ole  man  Reed  was  here 
long  before  the  Forest  was  a  Guv'ment  affair,  but 
they 's  plenty  more  places  like  his  homesteaded  under 
Forest  Service  reg'lations,  an'  better  than  his  ranch 
was  when  he  come  here." 

"There  are  over  two  hundred  areas  listed  now  on 
the  Gila, ' '  I  put  in,  '  '  as  land  suitable  for  agriculture 
and  open  to  settlement  under  the  act  of  June  11, 

"Yes,  an'  they's  a  good  many  hundred  more 



o  a 

ON  TOP  AGAIN  143 

ready  whenever  people  want  'em,  * '  returned  Brown. 
"Of  course  they  ain't  no  fortune  in  them  right  away, 
but  making  a  livin'  isn't  hard  here,  if  a  man '11  work, 
an'  before  long,  if  the  Forest  Service  keeps  timber 
thieves  an'  fakers  out  the  way  they're  doing,  they's 
goin'  to  be  a  sight  of  people  comin'  in  here  an' 
tickled  to  death  to  get  one  hundred  and  sixty  acres 
of  good  land  just  by  livin'  on  it  an'  workin'  it." 

This  was  all  true  but  I  was  familiar  with  the  facts 
that  Brown  offered.  I  was  more  interested  just  now 
in  Eeed  and  his  history.  I  could  not  easily  give 
up  my  romantic  conception  of  the  genial  old  moun- 
taineer, despite  Brown's  matter  of  fact  view  of  the 

"It  may  have  been  his  drinking,  after  all,"  I  mur- 
mured half  to  myself,  for  I  had  heard  that  he  had 
formerly  been  given  to  the  habit  in  excess.  "He 
probably  feels  that  this  is  the  only  safe  place  for 
him,  the  only  way  after  his  struggle  with  rum  that 
he  can  avoid  temptation!" 

"Who,  him!"  burst  out  Brown,  with  a  guffaw. 
"He  gits  roarin'  drunk  twice  a  month  regular  as 
clockwork.  Most  all  his  vegetable  money  goes  for 

I  began  to  fear  that  my  attitude  toward  old  man 
Eeed  might  have  to  be  recast  and  modelled  on  fact, 
after  all,  instead  of  fancy. 


So  quickly  did  the  time  pass  in  our  new  camp  on 
the  mountain  that  it  seemed  but  a  breath  before  the 
day  arrived  on  which  we  might  expect  the  return 
of  the  pack  outfit.  But  night  came  with  no  sign  of 
the  absent  burros,  and  three  more  days  passed  be- 
fore the  jingle  of  bells  and  the  faint  cries  of  the 
packers  announced  their  approach.  It  was  late  aft- 
ernoon when  we  first  saw  them.  The  burros  were 
creeping  slowly,  like  a  string  of  heavy  laden  ants, 
up  the  long,  winding  trail.  Behind  them  came  two 

Nearer  and  nearer  they  climbed.  Brown's  weird 
scream  rang  out  from  time  to  time.  We  had  heard 
it  before  ever  its  perpetrator  came  in  sight.  But 
his  companion  did  not  look  like  Ewing.  Before  long 
we  could  distinguish  the  square,  stalwart  figure  of 
Jackson,  the  Kingston  ranger. 

Speculation  immediately  arose  as  to  the  cause  of 
Ewing 's  failure  to  appear.  The  general  opinion 
was  that  he  had  gone  on  a  bender. 

Inquiries  were  made  of  Brown  as  soon,  almost, 
as  he  had  come  within  earshot.  But  the  packer  was 
for  the  time  being  uncommunicative.  Jackson  was 
equally  dumb. 


THE  END  OF  SWING'S  STORY        145 

"Wait  till  after  supper,"  Brown  finally  said, 
1 Til  tell  you  all  about  it  .then." 

So  we  possessed  our  souls  in  patience  until  the 
burros  were  unpacked,  the  chuck  piled  away,  and 
supper  finished.  Then,  pipes  lit  and  at  ease  about 
the  fire,  we  clamoured  for  the  news. 

It  was  a  delectable  moment  for  Brown,  who  pre- 
pared to  make  the  most  of  his  opportunity.  He 
seemed  in  no  hurry  to  begin.  Finally,  however,  he 
took  a  deep  pull  at  his  pipe,  glanced  sombrely  about 
the  circle  and  inquired: 

"What-th'-hell  d'you  suppose  E wing's  gone  an' 

Since  this  was  precisely  what  we  had  been  trying 
to  find  out  we  assumed  the  query  rhetorical  and  re- 
frained from  comment. 

Our  informant,  after  a  pause,  answered  it  himself. 

"The  crazy  son-of-a-gun,"  he  said,  "done  kilt  a 
feller  the  same  night  we  got  in  town  an'  surrendered 
to  th'  sheriff  d'reckly  after.  They  got  him  in  the 
jail  at  Hillsboro  now!" 

Here  was  news  with  a  vengeance.  If  Brown  an- 
ticipated a  sensation  he  was  not  disappointed. 
Everybody  asked  questions  at  once.  We  were  all 
tremendously  excited.  I  asked: 

' '  Who  was  the  man  killed  ?    Anybody  you  knew  ? ' ' 

"Gimme  a  chance!"  pleaded  Brown,  outwardly 
testy,  in  reality  enjoying  the  situation  thoroughly, 
"an'  I'll  tell  you  the  whole  story. 

"You  all  remember  the  day  we  started?    Well,  it 


taken  us  three  days  to  make  it  in  to  Hillsboro.  No 
sooner  we  got  unpacked  than  Ewing  hikes  over  to 
the  saloon  like  he  was  snakebit  an'  starts  a-hittin' 
her  up. 

"I  went  along  behine  and  taken  a  few  drinks  with 
him.  Afterward  I  done  what  I  could  to  git  him  to 
quit,  but  t'warn't  no  use.  So  I  went  over  to  the 
hotel  an'  et  supper. 

"When  I  come  back  they  done  got  Ewing  into 
a  poker  game.  He  was  drinkin'  right  smart  of 
whiskey,  but  didn't  seem  to  be  drunk  noways  bad. 
An'  he  was  sure  playin'  cyards. 

"They  was  five  in  th'  game,  Harry  Mallory,  th' 
tin-horn,  Jim  Riggs  and  Stub  Whitcomb,  from  over 
to  th'  Bar  6  Ranch,  Jasper  Hudson,  an'  Ewing. 
Ewing  was  a-workin'  'em  over  proper. 

"As  I  come  in  they  was  jest  drawin'  cyards  for 
a  jackpot. 

"Ewing  looked  at  his  hand  an'  opened  her  for 
five  dollars.  He  shoved  in  a  stack  of  blue  chips 
a  cat  couldn't  jump  over,  an'  jest  then  I  seen  a 
stranger  step  in  kind  of  easy  like  and  walk  up  be- 
hind Swing's  chair,  lookin'  at  his  hand  over  his 

"That's  all  he  done,  jest  looked  over  his  shoulder 
an'  stepped  back  a  little,  smilin'.  But  he  sure  give 
me  the  creeps.  He  was  jest  a  common  cowpuncher, 
anybody  could  see  that.  Only  his  face  looked  plumb 
onhealthy,  kinder  white  an'  shiny  in  the  lamp  light. 

THE  END  OF  SWING'S  STORY        147 

"At  the  time  I  didn't  think  much  of  it,  though, 
an'  I  don't  reckon  nobody  else  did  neither.  Sweat- 
ers was  thick  in  there  an'  what  with  the  heat  and  th' 
tobakker  smoke  we  wasn't  expectin'  nobody  to  look 
like  no  posy,  as  th'  feller  says. 

"  Well,  Mallory  come  in  the  jackpot  when  Ewing 
opened  her,  and  so  did  one  of  the  cowpunchers. 
They  each  drawed  three  cyards.  All  on  'em  holp, 
an'  the  bettin'  was  kind  o'  swif  for  a  minute. 
Then  a  call  come  an'  they  showed  down,  with  Mal- 
lory an'  Hudson  holdin'  threes  an'  Ewing  flashin' 
tens  full  on  queens. 

11  'Holy  Moses!'  says  Mallory,  'j'ye  ever  see  such 

"  'I  allus  have  pretty  good  luck — of  a  sort,'  says 

"I  remember  him  sayin'  that  an'  shufflin'  th' 
cyards  for  deal,  because  jest  then  this  here  stranger 
I  tells  you  about  steps  around  the  table,  across  from 
Ewing,  an'  pokes  a  45  cannon  in  his  face. 

"  'Yes,'  he  says,  'an'  you're  goin'  to  have  some 
more  o'  that  luck,'  he  says,  'right  now!  Y'  been 
follerin'  me  around  long  enough.  You're  either 
goin'  to  promise  me  t'  hotfoot  it  back  where  you  be- 
long, or  I'll  jest  about  blow  the  top  of  your  head 

"Nobody  knew  what  the  feller  was  talkin'  about, 
but  he  shore  looked  mean  enough  t'  turn  milk.  He 
was  shore  pizen,  that  feller. 


"Ewing  didn't  seem  much  worried.  He  jest 
looked  up  at  the  feller  an*  smiled  an'  seemed  real 
glad  to  see  him. 

"  'Whenever  you  git  good  an'  ready,'  he  said, 
'shoot  ahead!' 

"The  feller  grinned,  awful  sour-like,  an'  sezzee, 
'You'll  mebbe  want  t'  think  o'  your  sins,'  he  says, 
'fer  a  little.  I'll  count  ten.' 

"Ewing  only  laughed  at  th'  feller.  He  shore  had 
his  nerve  with  him. 

"The  feller  begin  to  count,  an'  then,  jest  as  we 
heard  'eight'  counted,  Ewing  looked  right  past  him 
towards  the  door  of  the  saloon,  same  as  if  he  seen 
somebuddy,  and  he  shouts  out,  quick  and  sudden- 
like,  '  Millie ! '  Jest  like  that—'  Millie ! '  Th '  stran- 
ger give  a  jump  an'  half -turned  around — an'  there's 
where  Ewing  got  him!  Right  through  th'  head! 
'Twas  the  prettiest  shot  y'  ever  want  t'  see! 

"He  never  looked  at  th'  feller  wonct  after  that. 
Jest  called  in  th'  sheriff  an'  give  himself  up  peace- 

"What  gits  me  is  just  who  the  feller  was  an'  why 
he  tried  to  put  Ewing  out.  An'  what  was  Ewing 
a-hollerin'  that  there  gal's  name  fer.  Hit's  shore 
funny.  But  nobody  don't  seem  to  know  nothin' 
much  more  than  what  I  tole  you." 

I  had  no  doubt,  under  the  circumstances,  as  to  who 
the  dead  man  was,  and  I  wondered  whether  the  out- 
come of  his  search  had  helped  Ewing  to  find  peace, 
or  whether  his  ill  luck  still  remained,  whether  the 

THE  END  OF  SWING'S  STORY        149 

killing  would  prove  for  him  a  way  to  happiness  or 
the  road  to  a  hopeless  hell.  I  was  answered,  in  part, 
a  few  weeks  later,  when  the  news  of  the  packer's 
suicide  reached  us.  He  had  gone  out  on  bail,  fur- 
nished by  a  cattleman  he  knew,  taken  a  room  at  the 
hotel,  locked  the  door,  and  shot  himself. 

The  tragedy  shocked  us  inexpressibly.  We  could 
think  of  nothing  else  for  a  time.  Knowing  more 
than  the  others  of  Kwing's  story,  I  felt  sick  over  the 
affair  for  days.  Then,  the  first  sudden  horror  of  the 
shooting  over,  we  began  to  consider  its  practical  re- 
sults. E wing's  place  must  be  filled,  and  at  once. 
But  Jackson,  as  soon  as  the  question  was  broached, 
set  Frazer's  mind  at  rest  on  this  point. 

"I  'phoned  to  Johns  at  Silver,"  he  said,  "as  soon 
as  I  heard  of  the  matter,  and  he  told  me  to  ride  up 
and  help  you  until  you  can  get  another  man. 
There's  not  much  doing  in  the  district  right  now 
anyway,  and  Eandolph  at  Fierro  can  look  after 
things  here  for  a  while.  I  wouldn't  be  surprised  if 
the  Supervisor  would  let  me  finish  out  the  job  with 
your  outfit.  The  fire  season  is  over  and  he's  cutting 
out  all  unnecessary  men  at  this  time  anyway." 

That,  as  it  turned  out,  was  just  what  occurred; 
Jackson  remained  with  us  until  we  struck  for  Silver 


FBOM  our  camp  at  the  top  we  worked  a  strip  of 
country  about  six  miles  long — north  and  south — by 
two  miles  wide.  During  these  runs  we  covered  Yel- 
low Jacket  peak,  the  highest  point  on  the  range, 
which  we  found  to  be  over  ten  thousand  feet  in 

While  nothing  like  as  disagreeable  as  the  work 
on  the  east  side,  this  was  as  hard  cruising  as  we 
had  encountered.  For  beside  the  steep,  long  climbs, 
a  great  part  of  the  forest  had  been  burned  over  here, 
and  the  one  time  timber  was  replaced  by  a  thick 
young  growth  of  pine  and  fir,  mingled  in  most  places 
with  aspen  and  Mexican  locust.  In  spots  this  cover, 
higher  than  a  man's  head,  was  so  closely  set  and 
interwoven  that  it  proved  well  nigh  impenetrable. 
When  one  considers  that  it  grew  often  on  a  slope  of 
from  sixty  to  eighty  per  cent  grade,  that  loose  boul- 
ders and  malpais  lay  hidden  in  the  long  grass  be- 
neath the  tangled  thickets,  and  that  the  slippery 
dead  and  down  trees  were  piled  in  spots  as  thickly 
as  an  abattis,  some  conception  of  the  difficulty  of  the 
cruiser's  task  may  be  formed. 

I  remember  one  day  when  it  took  me  three  hours 



OLD  MAN  REED  151 

of  the  most  strenuous  sort  of  work  to  crass  two  f  o-r- 
ties  of  such  stuff.  And  at  the  finish  I  felt  as  if  a 
full  day's  work  had  been  already  done.  One  rea- 
son for  this  was  that  the  footing  was  extremely  bad 
and  the  shoes  I  wore  were  too  light  and  thin  for  the 

This  question  of  shoes  was  one  which  bothered  me 
all  the  season.  The  Black  Range  seemed  to  render 
experience  in  other  localities  regarding  footwear  of 
no  value  whatever.  I  started  in  on  fairly  heavy 
shoes  of  the  driver  type,  hobnailed  thoroughly.  A 
pair  of  nine  dollar  boots  of  this  kind  lasted  about  a 
month.  Then  a  series  of  experiments  began. 

I  sent  to  a  prominent  firm  of  sporting  outfitters 
for  the  best  and  strongest  shoe  they  put  out.  A  pair 
cost  me  ten  dollars.  They  were  beautifully  made 
and  easy  to  the  foot,  while  they  lasted.  In  a  week 
the  sewing  that  held  the  counter  on  was  cut  through. 
In  two  weeks  the  counter  itself  came  off.  In  less 
than  a  month  the  leather  on  the  soles,  between  the 
nails,  was  eaten  away  as  if  gouged  with  a  knife, 
and  shortly  after  the  nails  came  out  and  the  whole 
shoe  practically  fell  to  pieces. 

Meanwhile  I  had  written  to  the  makers,  detailing 
my  experience.  They  replied  by  offering  to  build 
for  me,  at  fourteen  dollars,  a  pair  of  boots  which 
they  stated  could  be  guaranteed  for  any  country. 

When  these  came  (for  in  a  fit  of  desperation  I 
gave  the  firm  carte  blanche),  I  did  not  wonder  at 
their  confidence.  The  boots  were  of  heaviest  sole 


leather,  reinforced  everywhere,  with  counters  riv- 
eted on,  and  with  the  soles  thickly  studded  with  huge 
Hungarian  hobs.  Broad  steel  edging  nails  bound  the 
soles  and  heels  till  it  seemed  as  if  nothing  could  de- 
stroy them.  Brown  immediately  christened  them 
"the  bear  traps. " 

I  was  unable  to  give  these  massively  made  affairs 
a  thorough  test,  unfortunately,  for  after  a  few  days' 
use  I  decided  that  if  I  had  to  carry  them  over  the 
hills  and  valleys  of  the  Black  Eange  during  the  rest 
of  the  season  life  would  not  be  worth  living.  They 
weighed  together,  by  the  way,  just  a  little  over  eight 

Frazer,  before  this,  had  hit  upon  what  he  con- 
sidered a  highly  satisfactory  arrangement.  Instead 
of  paying  a  big  price  and  getting  the  heaviest  kind 
of  footwear,  he  went  to  the  other  extreme.  He  pur- 
chased several  pairs  of  light,  low  athletic  shoes,  had 
them  solidly  soled  and  hobnailed,  and  wore  each  pair 
till  it  showed  signs  of  giving  out,  then  threw  them 
away.  In  this  way  he  not  only  got  three  or  four 
pairs  of  shoes  for  what  one  expensive  pair  cost,  but 
possessed  the  advantage  of  carrying  much  less 
weight  on  his  feet  where  every  ounce  counts. 

The  drawback  to  his  scheme,  applied  personally, 
was  that  my  feet  were  apparently  not  made  of  the 
same  material  as  Frazer 's.  I  had  put  on  a  pair  of 
his  shoes  and  was  discovering  this  fact  on  the  run  I 
had  begun  to  describe  when  the  digression  on  shoes 
began.  I  could  feel  the  rocks  through  the  soles, 

OLD  MAN  EEED  153 

sides  and  counters,  and  before  long  I  was  so  lame 
that  I  could  hardly  walk.  Though  I  made  what 
speed  I  could  it  was  long  after  supper  time  before 
I  finished  my  day's  work  and  started  for  camp. 

On  the  way  home  I  passed  by  Eeed  's  ranch.  The 
hermit  was  seated  on  the  wooden  steps  of  his  cabin, 
smoking  a  corncob  pipe.  He  insisted  on  my  stop- 
ping for  a  "bite,"  and  afterward  we  sat  in  his  little 
front  room — for  his  was  a  four-room  edifice — and 
talked  an  hour  or  more  away.  That  is  to  say,  the 
old  man  talked  and  I  listened.  He  was  quite  deaf, 
and  as  a  rule  spoke  in  answer  to  the  suggestions  of 
his  own  thoughts  rather  than  to  another's  ques- 

"I  had  a  partner  once,"  he  announced,  after  a 
short  period  of  rumination. 

I  nodded  my  interest  in  the  fact. 

"Ye-es,"  continued  the  old  homesteader,  "an* 
Jake  was  a  purty  good  sort  of  feller — purty  good. 
He  was  a  worker,  too,  best  I  ever  saw.  But  tetchy 
— awful!  Nobody  couldn't  never  pass  no  remarks 
about  Jake's  doin's  or  Jake  hisself,  withouten  he'd 
up  and  git  plumb  ornery  about  it.  Said  he  didn't 
see  no  call  for  nobody  t'git  curyus  as  to  what  a  man 
was  a-goin'  to  do  or  not  goin'  to  do  or  why  he 
done  it,  neither. 

"I  reck'nised  Jake's  failin'  all  right,  but  I  was 
never  one  to  humour  a  man  over  much,  and  Jake 
an'  me  used  to  have  some  right  smart  spats  some- 
times." The  hermit  smiled,  gleefully  reminiscent. 


I  could  imagine  some  of  those  tedium  destroying 

"What  became  of  Jake?"  I  shouted. 

"Hey!  Oh,  we'd  been  quar'lin  putty  reg'lar  and 
Jake  come  in  one  night  and  hung  up  his  hat  on  one 
of  them  nails  over  yonder,  an'  while  he  was  washin' 
up  for  dinner  I  sez  to  him,  says  I,  'Jake,  what  ye 
been  a  doin'  this  arternoon?'  He  jest  grunted  an' 
set  down  to  supper  and  never  said  a  word  endurin' 
th'  meal. 

"Afterward  Jake  gits  up  an'  starts  off  fer  th' 
barn  plumb  mad,  fergittin'  his  hat,  he's  so  putt  out 
over  my  questionin'  him  thataway.  'Whar  y' 
goin'!'  I  hollers  after  him,  not  thinkin'  he'd  answer, 
but  he  does.  'Oh  I'm  jist  goin'  t'  hunt  th'  burros,' 
he  says,  mighty  sarcastic. 

"Well,  sir,  that  was  four  year  ago,  and  I  hain't 
never  laid  eyes  on  Jake  sence.  An'  them  two  bur- 
ros he  went  t'  hunt,  they  dis'peared  'bout  th'  same 

The  old  man  chuckled  inaudibly,  sucking  his  pipe 
with  vast  enjoyment. 

Just  then  there  sounded  a  rousing  knock  at  the 
door.  Eeed  stiffened,  shifted  in  his  chair,  took  his 
pipe  in  his  left  hand  while  his  right  lay  negligently 
in  the  vicinity  of  his  hip  pocket,  and  cried  out, 
"Come  in!" 

There  entered  at  the  summons  a  little,  weazened 
man  with  bowed  shoulders  and  a  preternaturally 
solemn  countenance,  wrinkled  as  to  forehead  and 

OLD  MAN  EEED  155 

querulous  in  expression.  He  glared  ferociously  at 
Eeed,  apparently  more  from  embarrassment,  how- 
ever, .than  from  ill  will. 

' '  Well,  Jake,"  ejaculated  the  hermit,  after  a  brief 
stare  of  surprise,  "did  ye  find  them  burros ?" 

"Uh-huh!"  responded  the  quaint  looking  person- 
age addressed.  Then,  as  his  gaze  wandered  to  the 
nails  along  the  wall,  he  coloured  violently. 

* i  Where  'bouts  is  my  hat ! "  he  complained, ' '  seems 
like  a  fellor  can't  step  outside  but  what  some  dum 
galoot  has  t'  move  his  b 'longings." 

The  hat,  after  a  short  search,  was  produced  in- 
tact. When  I  left  a  little  later  the  two  old  cronies 
were  talking  together  as  cosily  as  if  they  had  never 
been  separated  for  a  moment. 

I  heard  sometime  after  that  another  quarrel  had 
taken  place  and  that  Jake  had  left  once  more.  This 
might  have  occasioned  a  sad  condition  of  affairs  at 
Eeed's  ranch  which  we  observed  when  next  we  saw 
the  hermit  and  which  will  be  described  in  due  course. 


WHILE  camped  on  top  we  spent  a  few  days  taking 
sample  acres.  The  stand  of  timber,  a  composite 
type  of  pine,  spruce  and  Douglas  fir,  with  fir  domi- 
nant, was  so  different  from  that  on  the  sparsely  cov- 
ered eastern  slopes  that  a  complete  readjustment  of 
our  standards  for  estimating  was  necessary  to  meet 
the  new  conditions.  For  whereas  the  yellow  pine 
that  we  had  cruised  through  from  the  Animas  to 
Morgan  Creek  did  not  run  to  over  eighty  or  ninety 
thousand  feet,  board  measure,  in  an  average  forty 
acres,  our  sample  plots  indicated  that  the  stand  on 
top  for  all  species  would  probably  scale  from  eight 
to  twelve  thousand  feet  an  acre — three  to  five  hun- 
dred thousand  feet  to  the  forty. 

We  found,  later,  that  this  computation  was  not 
far  off.  In  some  spots  we  struck  such  an  estimate 
would  have  been  short  of  the  actual  timber  standing. 
A  number  of  forties  cruised  carried  all  of  four  hun- 
dred thousand  feet  of  pine  and  fir,  while  for  the 
Black  Canyon  watershed  alone  we  set  our  final  esti- 
mate at  approximately  ninety  million  feet  of  stand- 
ing timber. 

It  was  necessary  also  at  this  time  for  the  baseline 


HORACE  "COMES  BACK"     157 

to  be  carried  forward  along  the  main  ridge  to  the 
Datil  and  then  south  down  Diamond  Creek  as  far 
as  our  next  camp.  For  there  now  remained  of  the 
formidable  forest  we  had  attacked  in  May  only  a 
block  of  country  to  the  west,  stretching  from  the 
Datil  on  the  north  to  McKnight  Creek  on  the  south. 
And  we  planned  to  work  this  territory,  so  far  as 
possible,  from  the  canyons  where  the  baseline  was 
td  run.  Our  camps  would  be  along  the  streams, 
which  flowed  in  a  generally  westerly  direction  and 
which  cut  the  timbered  area  for  the  most  part  into 
easily  accessible  strips  and  wedges.  Diamond 
Creek  was  the  northernmost  of  these  main  water- 
courses and  a  first  camp  site  was  chosen  near  the 
trap  corral  of  the  Diamond  Bar  outfit,  some  four 
miles  from  the  canyon  head. 

The  journey  of  the  baseline  to  this  point  was  made 
memorable  by  an  exploit  of  Wetherby's  which 
boosted  that  young  man's  popularity  higher  than  it 
had  ever  before  been  registered  by  the  thermometer 
of  camp  sentiment. 

The  crew  was  running  the  line  down  a  narrow  ra- 
vine that  breaks  west  from  the  main  range  a  little 
this  side  of  the  forest  boundary.  It  was  late  after- 
noon, nearly  time  to  knock  off  work.  Conway 
walked  fifty  yards  or  more  in  advance  of  the  others. 
Wetherby,  at  the  moment,  was  helping  Wallace  with 
the  plane  table. 

At  a  sudden  unusual  sound  in  the  brush  to  the 
left,  Wallace  turned  aside  to  investigate.  The  next 


instant  he  came  back  at  full  speed,  eyes  popping  and 
legs  working  wildly.  Ten  yards  behind  him,  snarl- 
ing and  fighting  the  brush,  lumbered  a  full  grown 
cinnamon  bear.  He  was  in  a  towering  rage,  caused 
very  evidently  by  a  steel  trap  and  eight  feet  of  heavy 
chain  broken  from  its  fastening  that  trailed  from 
his  prisoned  hind  foot.  Had  it  not  been  for  this 
drag  he  would  doubtless  have  caught  Wallace  be- 
fore the  Forest  Assistant  had  gone  twenty  feet. 
For  an  angry  bear,  despite  his  awkward  looking 
mode  of  locomotion,  can  make  astonishing  speed 
through  the  woods.  As  it  was  Wallace  was  able  to 
reach  an  oak  tree  and  shinny  up  the  trunk,  which 
was  only  about  seven  inches  in  diameter,  before  his 
pursuer  reached  the  bottom. 

I  suppose  the  theory  was  that  no  bear  would  climb 
so  small  a  tree — or  perhaps  the  frightened  youth 
merely  made  instinctively  for  the  nearest  temporary 
refuge.  However  that  be  the  beast  hesitated  not  at 
all  but  began  to  ascend  the  trunk  as  swiftly  as  his 
clanking,  unwieldy  burden  would  permit.  He  made 
hard  work  of  it.  His  roars  of  rage  proclaimed  the 
pain  he  must  have  felt  as  the  ruthless  steel  claws 
of  the  trap  in  which  he  had  been  caught  pulled  and 
twisted  at  his  torn  flesh.  But  he  worked  gradually 
though  slowly  upward.  He  would,  without  doubt, 
have  succeeded  in  reaching  his  quarry  had  not  a 
timely  interruption  occurred. 

When  Horace  first  saw  Wallace  with  the  bear  in 

HORACE  "COMES  BACK"     159 

his  wake  emerging  at  high  speed  from  the  brush, 
he  at  once  followed  a  natural  and  compelling  im- 
pulse to  climb  a  tree,  from  which  position  of  van- 
tage he  watched  the  subsequent  proceedings.  Con- 
way,  hearing  the  commotion,  but  too  far  away  to 
discern  its  cause,  ran  back  toward  the  others.  He 
was  halted  as  he  neared  by  a  warning  cry  from 
Wetherby,  then  he  too  sought  a  convenient  oak. 

This  was  the  situation  as  the  infuriated  bear  be- 
gan to  climb  the  tree  after  Wallace,  who  carried  no 
weapons,  and  was  therefore  compelled  to  rely  upon 
his  agility  alone  for  safety.  As  soon  as  he  saw  that 
the  bear  intended  to  follow  him  he  moved  as  far  out 
on  a  limb  as  he  could,  hoping  that  at  the  worst  the 
animal,  if  it  persisted  in  its  attempt  to  reach  him, 
would  precipitate  both  to  the  ground  and  give  him 
a  possible  chance  to  escape. 

The  three  men,  each  in  his  individual  tree,  watched 
the  bear's  progress  intently  in  a  state  of  high  sus- 
pense. As  it  became  increasingly  evident  that  the 
beast  would  succeed  in  reaching  him,  Wallace  cried 
out  involuntarily. 

Wetherby  immediately  began  to  descend  from  the 
limb  on  which  he  sat,  calling  out  at  the  same  time 
to  his  beleaguered  chief: 

1  '  Sit  tight,  Wally !    I  '11  be  over  in  a  minute ! ' ' 

"What  're  you  trying  to  do,  Wetherby  I"  cried 
Con  way,  as  he  realised  the  other's  purpose.  "Don't 
be  a  fool!" 


Horace  did  not  even  answer.  The  only  one  of  the 
trio  to  carry  a  revolver,  he  was  bent  on  making  his 
much-maligned  Colt  justify  its  existence. 

But  to  go  gunning  for  an  angry  bear  not  ten  feet 
off  the  ground  with  a  38-calibre  pistol  is  distinctly 
a  risky  business.  Wallace  as  well  as  Conway  en- 
deavoured to  turn  Horace  from  the  attempt. 

"Go  on  back,  Wetherby,"  yelled  his  superior,  as 
the  axeman  approached.  ' '  Shoot  him  from  the  tree. 
He'll  get  you  sure  now,  if  you  wound  him!" 

"I  haven't  enough  cartridges  to  waste  any,"  was 
all  Horace  vouchsafed  as  he  stepped  directly  under 
the  tree  and  took  careful  aim  at  the  beast  above. 

A  shot  sounded  and  the  bear's  head  snapped  to 
one  side  as  if  struck  sharply  with  a  club,  his  great 
muscles  relaxed  and  he  slid  scramblingly  down, 
in  the  descent  his  heavy  claws  ripping  long,  deep 
grooves  in  the  bark  of  the  tree. 

Horace  circled  about,  excited  but  alert,  waiting 
to  put  five  more  soft-nosed  bullets  if  necessary  in 
the  carcass  of  the  wounded  animal.  A  moment's 
inspection  showed  that  they  were  not  needed.  The 
first  ball,  entering  behind  the  ear,  had  penetrated 
the  thin  coating  of  muscle  there,  cracked  through 
the  skull,  and  pierced  the  brain.  It  was  a  perfect 

"I  didn't  know  you  had  it  in  you,  Horace," 
grinned  Conway,  as  he  slapped  the  delighted  marks- 
man on  the  back.  And  Wallace,  with  a  silence  more 

HOEACE  "COMES  BACK"     161 

eloquent  than  a  torrent  of  thanks,  grasped  his  hand 
and  wrung  it  fervently. 

We  heard  all  about  the  episode  in  camp  that  night. 
Later  we  examined  the  carcass  of  the  slain  bear  and 
speculated  on  whose  trap  it  was  from  which  he  had 
so  nearly  escaped.  We  refought  the  fight  all  over 
again  a  dozen  times,  comparing  and  criticising  the 
versions  of  the  three  envied  participants. 

Horace's  courageous  part  in  the  affair  did  not 
lack  spirited  and  enthusiastic  chroniclers  in  Con- 
way  and  Wallace.  He  became  a  hero  over  night, 
and  from  this  moment  could  be  dated  Wetherby's 
complete  rehabilitation  in  the  eyes  of  the  camp.  We 
remembered  now  that  since  "the  renaissance,"  as 
we  dubbed  the  altered  attitude  first  observed  in  him 
after  that  night  alone  in  the  forest,  Horace  had  been 
a  different  person.  Indeed,  this  encounter  with  the 
bear  was  not  entirely  responsible  for  our  change  of 
heart  toward  him.  But  it  needed  some  such  con- 
clusive evidence  of  nerve  to  finally  crystallise  the 
camp's  changing  opinion  of  the  once  despised  axe- 
man. He  proved  himself  by  this  exploit,  as  Conway 
put  it,  a  "regular  fellow." 

We  moved  to  Diamond  Creek  on  Thursday  morn- 
ing, the  first  of  September.  For  a  night  or  so  be- 
fore leaving  we  had  missed  old  man  Reed.  We 
could  not  understand  why  he  had  so  abruptly  ceased 
his  evening  visits.  I  wondered  if  perhaps  it  might 
not  be  in  some  way  connected  with  his  partner,  Jake. 


Our  trail  ran  by  his  ranch  and  some  of  us  were  for 
stopping  on  the  way  and  bidding  him  "adios." 

But  Brown  threw  cold  water  on  the  suggestion. 

"Better  not  bother  with  the  old  man,"  he  cau- 
tioned. "Ef  he  didn't  come  over  the  last  few 
nights  he  must-a-had  his  reasons.  He  takes  streaks 

It  was  as  well  that  we  decided  to  abide  by  Brown's 
advice.  As  we  neared  the  ranch  we  heard  at  regu- 
lar intervals  the  sound  of  shooting — two  shots  at  a 
time.  We  wondered  what  it  might  portend. 

As  we  came  within  sight  of  the  weather-beaten 
log  cabin  the  mystery  was  solved.  The  Hermit  sat 
alone  in  a  particularly  dignified  attitude  on  his  front 
steps,  puffing  slowly  on  his  corn-cob  pipe  and  gazing 
straight  before  him.  Every  once  in  so  often  he  laid 
down  his  pipe,  raised  a  huge  demijohn  to  his  lips, 
and  drank  long  and  lovingly.  Then  he  carefully  set 
down  the  demijohn  in  its  turn,  and,  emitting  several 
ear-splitting  whoops,  picked  up  a  shotgun  and 
emptied  both  barrels  into  the  innocent  empyrean. 
The  pipe  and  the  dignified  mien  were  thereupon  re- 
sumed, until  a  recurrent  impulse  impelled  a  repeti- 
tion of  the  performance  we  had  witnessed. 

As  we  passed  out  of  sight  he  was  just  coming  into 
action  for  the  fifth  time.  And  the  last  I  recall  of 
the  Hermit  is  the  sound  of  his  unleashed  voice  in 
my  ears,  the  sight  of  his  white-haired,  gaunt  person 
posed  erectly  on  his  threshold,  eyes  aflame  and  shot- 
gun thrust  menacingly  toward  the  zenith. 

HORACE  "COMES  BACK"     163 

"Is  that  one  of  the  old  man's  streaks ?"  I  in- 
quired of  Brown. 

"He's  drunk!"  replied  the  latter,  indifferently,  as 
if  that  was  sufficient  explanation  of  any  and  all  phe- 
nomena, however  strange  and  unexpected.  And, 
when  you  come  to  think  of  it,  I  suppose  it  is. 


FOB  several  days  the  weather  had  been  cloudy  and 
unsettled.  But  on  the  morning  when  we  woke  in 
our  first  Diamond  Creek  camp  a  complete  overnight 
change  had  occurred. 

It  was  crisp,  cool  and  clear — a  true  fall  day — one 
of  those  heartening,  out-of-doors,  woodsey  mornings 
when  the  dew  on  the  grass  sparkles  mischievously, 
when  the  sun  strikes  the  earth  with  a  warm  caress 
that  quickens  the  electric  air,  when  the  sharp,  sweet 
song  of  birds  keeps  time  to  the  mounting  song  in 
the  blood  of  the  just-awakened  camper. 

As  the  first  soft  spring  evening  of  the  year  some- 
times will  linger  in  the  mind,  noteworthy  by  con- 
trast with  its  forgotten  fellows,  so  this  September 
day  though  no  different,  perhaps,  from  those  that 
followed,  still  stands  unique  for  me,  still  has  its  own 
niche  in  the  galleries  of  recollection. 

From  this  time  on  to  the  end  the  weather  was 
perfect.  They  were  halcyon  days  these,  cloudless, 
and  with  the  crystal  clearness  of  atmosphere  and 
the  tonic  snap  and  sparkle  of  frost  that  autumn  in 
the  mountains  means.  The  damp,  sweet  balsam 
odour  of  the  firs,  the  cheery,  crackling  fires  of  pitch- 



Packsaddles  were  cinched  on  the  burros  and  they  were  tied  to  a 
tree  or  shrub  until  their  turn  came  to  be  packed 

A  typical  camp  in  an  open  stand  of  yellow  pine 


pine  round  which  we  gathered  with  tingling  fingers 
and  glowing  faces,  the  yellow  and  crimson  leaves, 
dropping  one  by  one,  the  little  searching  wind  that 
came  and  whispered  secrets  of  the  northern  caves 
from  which  it  sprang — everything  seemed  new,  and 
fresh,  and  wonderful. 

Yet  there  was  too,  when  I  think  of  it,  a  shade  of 
something  like  sadness  through  it  all,  a  vague,  un- 
easy longing  for  similar  days  long  past  gone  to  re- 
turn no  more,  a  something  dimly  reminiscent  in  our 
emotions,  in  the  smell  of  burning  wood,  in  the  sense 
of  shortening  days,  in  flaming  sunsets  or  the  sharp, 
clarion  call  of  a  cold  dawn.  There  came  over  one  a 
melancholy  at  times,  that  strange  nostalgia  of  the 
spirit  which  for  want  of  clear  cause  we  assign  al- 
ways to  something  concrete  and  tangible  that  we 
have  known  or  loved. 

My  thoughts  were  wont  at  this  time  to  wander 
forlornly  to  scenes  wherein  turkey  and  mince  pie 
were  prominent,  where  chestnuts  and  popcorn  and 
great,  cheery,  open  fires  and  smiling,  kindly  faces 
appeared — scenes  and  faces  once  seen  so  often  in 
other  times,  and  now  so  very  well,  so  very  clearly 
remembered  after  the  intervening  flurry  of  years ! 

Our  runs  in  the  Diamond  Creek  country  were 
ideal.  An  initial  climb  of  six  or  seven  hundred  feet 
from  the  base  line  in  the  canyon — a  climb  to  rouse 
the  heart  and  warm  one's  blood — and  we  found  our- 
selves on  wide,  level,  flower-studded  mesas,  beauti- 
ful in  the  bright  sunshine  as  plains  of  asphodel. 


Here  was  the  coveted  Diamond  Bar  range.  Cat- 
tle, fat  and  sleek,  cropped  leisurely  at  the  lush 
grama  grass.  Cows,  with  wide-eyed,  awkward 
calves,  long  horned,  inquisitive  steers,  lowering, 
self -sufficient,  massive  bulls.  "We  ran  through  them 
every  day,  and  whereas  on  the  east  side  we  had 
found  the  cattle  small  and  lean,  wild  as  deer  and 
scarcer,  here  they  seemed  to  mind  our  presence  not 
at  all.  Mostly  they  merely  raised  their  heads  and 
glanced  indifferently  at  us  as  we  passed,  or  if  in  our 
line  lumbered  slowly  off  as  we  came  up,  to  turn  at 
a  little  distance  and  gaze  with  mild  curiosity  at  the 
rare  phenomenon  of  a  man  on  foot. 

On  these  mesa  runs,  in  scenes  so  strange  to  us, 
so  different  from  the  barren  east  side  or  the  heavily 
timbered  top  of  the  range,  a  curious  feeling  of  un- 
reality came  over  one  at  times.  It  was  as  if  field 
and  flower,  the  blue,  brilliant  sky,  and  the  wild  life 
about,  were  one  and  all  mere  creations  of  our  sub- 
jectivity, with  no  distinct  identity  of  their  own,— 
mere  strokes  and  shades  in  a  masterpiece  made 
solely  for  our  peculiar  pleasure. 

Out  in  the  morning,  then  lunch,  then  home  again, 
miles  over  the  level,  flower-studded  mesa.  That  was 
our  daily  schedule.  Only,  perhaps,  on  our  return 
run  we  would  encounter,  instead  of  cattle,  a  herd  of 
white  tail  deer.  Sometimes  they  heard  our  care- 
less approach  and  we  caught  merely  a  glimpse  of 
flashing  bodies  ascending  some  distant  slope  with 
incredible  leaps.  Or  we  might  come  upon  them  un- 


awares,  in  a  shady  grove  or  thicket,  when  often  we 
were  able  to  approach  to  within  fifty  paces  or  less 
before  alarm  was  taken. 

Once  as  I  was  sighting  the  compass  an  eight- 
pronged  buck,  followed  by  six  does,  jogged  past. 
They  were  headed  for  water,  on  a  cattle  trail  not  a 
hundred  feet  away.  They  seemed  in  the  last  stages 
of  exhaustion,  heads  down,  shoulders  sagging  for- 
ward, ears  drooping  forlornly,  for  all  the  world  like 
a  row  of  tired  hounds. 

At  a  whistle  the  seven  deer  whirled  toward  me 
and  stood  erect,  motionless  as  if  frozen.  Then  sud- 
denly what  a  scattering  and  springing!  What  a 
clatter  of  stones  and  a  darting  of  tawny  forms 
through  the  startled  air !  What  a  sudden  and  com- 
plete vanishment  of  those  same  weary  looking  ani- 
mals I  had  so  pitied  a  moment  before. 

Probably  one  of  the  chief  reasons,  if  not  the  chief, 
for  our  enjoyment  of  our  work  at  this  time  was  the 
excellent  physical  condition  in  which  we  found  our- 
selves. The  week's  rest  on  top,  following  our  exer- 
tions on  the  east  side,  had  given  us  a  chance  to 
recuperate.  This,  with  the  bracing  change  of  air 
and  temperature,  the  sound  sleep  and  the  good  food 
since,  had  made  us  thoroughly  fit,  overflowing  with 
strength  and  spirits.  The  daily  cruise  was  child's 
play  for  us  now.  Our  legs  were  like  steel  springs, 
our  wind  perfect.  We  seemed  never  to  tire,  never 
to  exhaust  the  reservoir  of  energy. 

Day  after  day  we  fairly  romped  through  forty, 


section  and  township.  Three  camps  were  made  on 
Diamond  Creek,  five  miles  apart.  Then  over  the 
divide  we  went  to  Black  Canyon,  next  on  the  south, 
and  up  that  to  the  head.  For  we  had  to  tie  on  to 
the  work  at  the  top,  near  Reed's  place,  which  we 
had  left  so  shortly  before. 

Black  Canyon  was  considerably  larger  than 
Diamond  Creek.  Also,  the  fishing  was  better. 
Speckled  trout  in  hundreds  leaped  through  its  shal- 
low ripples  or  lurked  in  the  depths  of  its  over- 
hung pools. 

Bert  and  Bob  Moak  were  our  star  fishermen. 
They  were  always  at  it.  Bert  was  accused  of  in- 
venting a  method  of  automatic  dish  washing  so  that 
he  might  be  free  to  dash  off  up  or  down  stream  di- 
rectly after  meals.  And  Bob  one  day  made  a  six- 
mile  run  in  five  hours  in  order  to  fish  till  supper 
time.  We  always  held  that  he  must  have  slid  down 
a  five-hundred-foot  bluff  to  the  river  to  accomplish 
the  feat. 

While  the  rest  of  us  were  content  to  do  our  fish* 
ing  on  Sundays,  we  did  not  hesitate  to  help  dispose 
of  the  trout  when  they  were  caught.  And  so  plenti- 
ful were  they  that  we  had  a  mess  practically  every 
morning  and  evening  while  camped  in  the  canyon. 
That  this  consideration  added  materially  to  our  list 
of  daily  blessings  need  not  be  stated — at  least,  to 
one  who  has  been  some  time  greeted  on  his  return 
from  a  long  hike  with  the  appetizing  sight  of  fish 


frying  in  the  pan,  or  who  has  waked  in  a  cold,  in- 
vigorating dawn  with  the  delicate  odour  of  hissing, 
sputtering  trout  in  his  nostrils. 


NEAR  this  camp  on  Diamond  Creek  lay  the  famous 
Lost  Man's  Park,  a  little  open,  tree  girdled  hollow, 
wherein,  marked  by  a  surmounting  pile  of  stones  and 
a  rude  wooden  cross,  rest  the  bones  of  the  wanderer 
from  whose  misfortune  the  spot  derives  its  name. 

The  dead  man's  story  is  unknown  as  would,  in- 
deed, but  for  an  accident,  have  been  the  fact  of  his 
death.  Some  years  ago  two  cowpunchers  on  the 
trail  of  a  maverick  literally  stumbled  over  the  bleach- 
ing skeleton  of  this  unfortunate.  He  appeared  to 
have  been  seated,  leaning  against  a  great  fir  tree, 
when  the  end  came.  No  clue  was  found  to  his  iden- 
tity, nothing  to  indicate  the  manner  of  his  death. 
Only  an  old  gun,  a  Eip  Van  Winkle  relic  that  fell 
to  pieces  when  touched,  and  a  hunting  knife,  bone 
handled,  lay  on  the  ground  nearby.  That  was  all. 

But  in  spite  of — or  perhaps  because  of — this  pau- 
city of  material,  legends  sprang  up  about  the  Lost 
Man,  as  legends  will,  and  grew  and  were  repeated 
with  constantly  accumulating  details  until  they  came, 
in  one  form  or  another,  to  be  believed  by  every  one. 

Perhaps  the  most  popular  version  recited  how  the 
stranger,  coming  from  afar,  some  said  in  search  of 
gold,  others  of  an  enemy  whom  he  had  sworn  to 



slay,  entered  the  mountains  one  blustering  fall  with 
inadequate  supplies,  and  a  little  later,  lost  and  ill, 
seated  himself  at  the  foot  of  the  huge  tree  which 
forms  now  his  titanic  tombstone  and  there  died,  his 
purpose  unfulfilled  and  his  heart  bitter  within  him. 
This,  averred  the  more  imaginative,  was  the  reason 
why  the  spirit  of  the  Lost  Man  stole  forth  still  some- 
times in  the  dead  of  night  and  pursued  once  more 
through  the  dark  corridors  of  the  forest  the  unfin- 
ished quest  of  days  gone  by. 

The  park  was  a  pleasant  place  by  daylight,  under 
the  golden  sun.  A  court  of  waving  grasses  and  wild 
flowers  of  many  colours,  a  bower  of  sweet  odours 
and  bright  hues,  a  rare  spot  to  lie  and  dream,  in  the 
hours  when  work  was  over,  gazing  lazily  upward 
at  the  blue  circle  of  sky  with  its  dark  border  of 
softly  stirring  tree  tops.  The  tiny  glade  had  a 
charm.  We  spent  all  our  leisure  moments  there. 
And  our  words  and  thoughts  were  ever  of  life — as 
was  natural — and  of  living  things,  with  never,  or 
rarely,  a  glance  or  a  passing  mention  for  that 
menacing  hint  of  mortality,  the  stony  grave  close  by. 

It  was  otherwise  at  night.  A  few  of  us  strolled 
over  after  supper  on  the  evening  of  the  day  we  made 
camp.  "We  sat  on  a  little  rise  overlooking  the  park 
and  built  a  fire  for  warmth,  though  the  night  was 
more  than  ordinarily  mild.  But  the  firelight  in  our 
eyes  blew  out  the  soft  winking  stars  and  I  moved 
away  before  long,  a  little  distance  from  the  flames, 
the  better  to  enjoy  the  scene. 


The  stars  were  glorious,  clear  and  diamond  bright. 
The  sky  seemed  truly  alive.  It  quivered  and  glowed 
with  an  intense,  coruscant  energy.  How  could  any 
one  ever  feel  lonely,  I  wondered,  with  such  an  in- 
finitude of  sparkling,  vibrant  bodies  all  about,  all 
parts  and  partakers  of  the  same  great  life,  all  dwel- 
ling, forever  and  ever,  in  the  same  universe  that 
holds  our  tiny,  insignificant  selves. 

As  darkness  grew  deeper  we  could  see  little  or 
nothing  of  the  park  below  us,  only  at  times  a  faint 
glimmer  of  light  showed  the  position  of  the  Lost 
Man's  grave.  A  little  later  the  moon  rose,  slow  and 
serene,  swimming  sensuously  in  the  low  hung  mists. 
And  as  she  rose  faint  outlines  of  light  trembled  in 
the  even  blackness  of  the  forest  round  about.  And 
like  a  face  forming,  feature  by  feature,  from  the 
folds  of  a  velvet  curtain,  there  shone  more  clearly 
each  moment  the  glade  of  glistening  grass,  tree 
ringed  on  every  side,  and  plain  and  plainer  we  saw 
the  dim  cairn  of  stones,  the  wooden  cross  at  its  foot, 
and  the  great  fir,  the  wanderer's  tombstone,  at  its 

Then  in  the  mystical  half  light  a  spell  was  woven. 
Objects  took  on  strange  shapes,  became  wavering 
grotesques,  fanciful  and  unfamiliar.  The  tall 
bearded  grass  was  gone.  Instead  there  shimmered 
a  shaking  field  of  silver  spears,  like  the  weapons  of 
the  Sons  of  the  Dragon's  Teeth  bursting  magically 
from  the  earth.  And  on  every  side,  hemming  them 
in,  awaiting  fearfully  their  onslaught,  loomed  in  the 

o  -5 




shadows  a  horde  of  monsters  born  from  the  im- 
passive trees  by  the  enchantment  of  the  hour. 

Only  the  mound  of  stones  with  the  wooden  cross 
at  its  foot  remained,  dim  and  deathlike,  but  un- 
changed. And  the  great  fir  at  its  head,  the  wan- 
derer's tombstone,  stood  as  of  old  in  massive  dig- 
nity, maintaining  an  age-long  vigil  over  the  poor 
bones  entrusted  to  its  care. 

The  ancient  tree  stood  still  and  grave  and  silent, 
but  it  was  a  silence  pregnant  with  deep  things.  It 
held  the  wisdom  of  the  centuries  in  its  brooding  im- 
mobility; it  hinted,  somehow,  of  old,  primordial  mys- 
teries, locked  deep  in  its  slumbrous  heart. 

But,  hush — look!  What  is  that?  Something, 
pale  and  dim,  but  something,  nevertheless,  detaches 
itself  from  the  great  fir  and  creeps  slowly  along  the 
grave.  It  straightens  and  stands  swayingly  at  the 
foot  of  the  cairn  of  stones.  It  faces  us,  ghostlike 
arms  outstretched  in  the  form  of  a  cross.  It  ad- 
vances, step  by  gliding  step. 

My  hair  stirred  from  the  roots,  a  rippling  shudder 
ran  along  my  spine.  My  mouth  was  dry.  I  wanted 
to  yell,  but  could  not.  For  the  moment  I  was  dumb, 
palsied,  petrified!  And  still,  step  by  sliding  step, 
the  shining  spectre  neared. 

A  hoarse  cry  from  behind  me  broke  the  spell. 
The  others  by  the  fire,  which  now  had  burned  nearly 
out,  perceived  the  apparition. 

I  glanced  around.  They  were  staring,  wild-eyed, 
white  faces  gleaming  in  the  faint  light  from  the  dy- 


ing  embers,  toward  the  figure  that  still  approached 
with  its  horrible,  rhythmic  glide. 

Frazer  leapt  suddenly  to  his  feet.  His  revolver 
glinted  as  he  threw  it  into  line. 

"Stop,  or  111  shoot !"  he  cried,  loudly.  Through 
his  voice  ran  an  odd  quaver. 

But  the  figure  in  white  glided  slowly  nearer. 

I  heard  a  crashing  of  branches  and  the  thud  of 
feet  on  soft  ground.  Frazer  was  alone  by  the  fire, 
the  others  gone.  Hesitating  no  longer,  he  fired  three 
quick  shots  in  the  general  direction  of  the  phantom. 

A  yell  came  from  the  sheeted  figure,  hitherto  as 
silent  as  death. 

"What'n  hell  are  y'  doinT'  it  ejaculated  vio- 
lently. "Try in'  to  shoot  a  feller  up  jest  fer  makin' 
a  little  fun!" 

The  relief  was  sudden  and  nerve-destroying.  I 
broke  into  a  hysterical  laugh  and  rolled  over  on  the 
ground.  Frazer,  with  a  face  of  thunder,  threw  down 
his  weapon  and  ran  toward  the  ghost.  I  had  never 
seen  him  so  thoroughly  incensed  before. 

*  '  You  damned  idiot ! "  he  roared.  '  '  I  didn  't  know 

you  were  quite  such  a fool !  I  ought  to  fire  you 

right  now!  Are  you  plumb  crazy  or  what!" 

Brown  pulled  the  tent  flap  from  his  head.  He  en- 
deavoured to  assume  an  air  of  injured  dignity  with 
a  somewhat  ludicrous  result. 

"Don't  see  what  y'  want  to  make  such  a  fuss 
over,"  he  grumbled.  "I  was  jest  a  playin'  ghost. 


Why,   doggone  it,"  he  finished,   angrily  recalling 
Frazer's  target  practice,  "y'  might-a  kilt  me!" 

Frazer  turned  abruptly  and  walked  away.  And 
though  the  others  of  us  often  referred  thereafter 
to  the  ghost  of  Lost  Man's  Park,  I  have  never  since 
that  evening  heard  a  word  on  the  subject  from  the 


ON  Black  Canyon,  half  way  up,  we  camped  near  the 
home  ranch  of  the  Diamond  Bar  Cattle  Company. 
The  owner  was  a  wealthy  easterner  whom  ill  health 
had  driven  to  this  charming  exile  where  he  now  spent 
the  better  part  of  each  year  from  choice. 

True  to  the  traditions  of  the  cattlemen,  he  kept 
open  house  for  wayfarers.  So  we  were  not  sur- 
prised upon  our  arrival  to  receive  a  dinner  invita- 
tion. We  accepted  with  pleasure — and  not  till  then 
did  we  learn  from  one  of  the  cow-punchers  that  a 
party  of  six  Silver  City  girls,  campers  en  route  to 
the  top  of  the  range,  were  also  to  attend.  This  was 
rather  perturbing.  We  had  for  so  long  been  guilt- 
less of  participating  in  anything  remotely  approach- 
ing a  social  function  that  we  were  nervous.  Our 
available  wardrobes,  too,  were  hardly  calculated  to 
lend  distinction  to  the  affair. 

However,  there  was  nothing  to  do  but  fix  our- 
selves as  fetchingly  as  possible  and  go. 

Frazer,  the  camp  barber,  trimmed  each  untidy 
shock  of  hair  into  a  semblance  of  neatness.  Beards 
and  moustaches  in  various  styles  were  removed. 
There  was  a  great  spattering  of  water,  a  prolonged 



scrubbing  of  faces  and  hands,  a  searching  and  re- 
searching through  dufflebags  and  beds  in  the  feeble 
hope  that  somewhere  might  be  found  a  garment  or 
so  which  we  had  neglected  to  wear  entirely  thread- 

At  last  we  were  dressed  as  well  as  our  resources 
permitted.  Bob  Moak  and  Frazer  led  the  proces- 
sion out  of  camp,  being  voted  the  most  effectively  at- 
tired. Bob  sported  two  large  green  patches  in  the 
seat  of  his  overalls,  and  Frazer  had  unearthed  a 
faded  red  cravat,  the  only  bit  of  neckwear  in  the 
crowd  if  one  excepts  Brown's  spotted  cotton  hand- 
kerchief. We  others  following  were  remarkable 
rather  for  our  unwonted  flow  of  high  spirits  than  for 
any  decorative  qualities  we  possessed. 

The  party,  notwithstanding,  was  a  huge  success. 
Once  in  the  house  we  forgot  ourselves  and  our 
clothes  completely.  Previous  misgivings,  the  fear 
that  for  lack  of  practice  we  should  not  know  how  to 
behave  in  the  presence  of  women,  vanished  instantly. 
We  enjoyed  every  minute  of  the  evening.  It  was 
really  an  astonishing  treat  for  us. 

The  girls  appeared  to  our  sharpened  senses  beau- 
tiful as  sirens  and  witty  and  charming  beyond  de- 
scription. There  was  an  indescribable  zest  to  every- 
thing. Never  had  lights  shone  so  brightly  nor 
music  sounded  so  sweet  nor  lace  and  ribbons  and 
dainty  faces  and  silver  laughter  seemed  so  mar- 
vellously satisfactory,  so  altogether  delectable. 

And  the  dinner ! 


I  think  I  have  stated  somewhere  that  Bert  was  a 
noted  cook  and  Frazer  was  unusually  generous  in 
his  commissary.  Whenever  it  was  possible  the 
packers  had  killed  a  beef  on  the  range,  settling  after- 
ward with  the  owner,  and  had  kept  us  as  a  rule  well 
supplied  with  fresh  meat.  As  camp  fare  goes  we 
lived  unusually  well. 

But  to-night — it  was  a  different  thing  altogether. 
As  we  tasted  the  strong,  well  seasoned  soup ;  de- 
molished heaping  platters  of  fresh  vegetables  and 
fruits,  revelled  in  fried  chicken  and  cranberry  sauce 
and  sweet  potatoes  and  salad,  we  thought  for  the 
sake  of  contrast  of  our  beans,  canned  goods  and 
bacon  and  shuddered  deliriously. 

After  the  feast  we  talked  and  sang  and  played  de- 
lightful, foolish  games,  till  the  big,  rough-ceiled, 
log-walled  hall  echoed  with  shouts  that  shook  the 
roof  and  even  the  merry  stars  seemed  to  look  down 
in  wide  eyed  astonishment  at  the  tremendous 

It  was  a  wonderful  night,  a  magic  night! 

And — believe  it  or  not — the  life  of  the  gathering, 
the  feature  of  features,  was — Horace!  He  cer- 
tainly made  a  hit !  The  upright,  broad  shouldered 
figure,  the  tanned  features,  the  worn,  stained  clothes 
that  he  wore,  appealed  at  once  by  their  picturesque- 
ness.  He  was  before  long  the  centre  of  a  circle 
of  admiring  femininity  and  handling  his  admirers 
like  a  general. 

Since  his  regeneration,  Horace  Had  gladdened  our 


hearts  by  a  growing  tractability,  earnestness,  and 
modesty.  No  vainglorious  matter  now  passed  his 
lips.  Nor  did  he,  as  formerly,  attempt  upon  every 
possible  occasion  to  rectify  the  frequent  and  lament- 
able errors  of  his  companions.  He  talked  less  and 
performed  to  better  purpose.  He  seemed  anxious 
to  be  judged  by  his  actions  rather  than  by  his  words. 

But  it  soon  became  evident  this  evening  that  our 
comrade  was  fast  losing  his  hard  won  self-control. 
The  flattering  attention  of  the  girls  began  to  exert 
its  inevitable  effect. 

Horace  struggled  for  a  time.  He  set  his  jaw  hard, 
casting  nervous  glances  at  the  rest  of  us,  and  man- 
fully resisted  the  temptation  to  expand,  till  a  par- 
ticularly pretty  girl  looked  ravishingly  up  into  his 
eyes  and  pleaded : 

"Oh,  Mr.  Wetherby,  do  tell  us  something  of  your 
trip.  You  boys  must  have  had  such  stunning  ad- 

And  Horace  fell.  Nay !  rather  he  leapt  to  destruc- 
tion— succumbed  gloriously  and  spectacularly!  He 
threw  himself  into  the  pleasant  task  of  painting  for 
his  fair  auditors  our  life  as  it  was  not,  but  should 
be,  with  entire  abandon.  His  language  was  marvel- 
lous !  There  was  a  veritable  conflagration  of  rhet- 
oric fanned  by  a  whirlwind  of  wonderful  ideas. 
Never  was  heard  so  impetuous  a  stream  of  dramatic 
narrative,  never  were  there  such  word  pictures 
as  our  prodigy  painted,  and  never,  needless  to  say, 
were  statements  singly  and  collectively  further  from 


facts  than  those  so  successfully  offered  by  him  that 

Upon  his  canvas  we  saw  the  woods  transfigured, 
the  life  we  lived  idealised,  ravishing  in  its  care  free 
joyousness.  We  recognised  our  own  faces,  drawn 
one  by  one,  or  grouped  chorus-like,  a  background  for 
the  heroic  image  of  Horace  himself,  which  stalked, 
debonair  and  calmly  efficient,  through  the  stirring 
scenes  depicted. 

There  is  no  question  about  it,  Horace  was  good! 
The  utter  unleashing  of  his  imagination  made  him 
convincing.  That  was  his  power,  he  lived  his 
words.  Even  we  who  knew  him  fell  under  his  spell, 
in  a  way,  half  believing  for  a  moment  in  the  truth 
of  the  absurdities  we  heard,  half  accepting  as  facts 
what  reason  branded  indubitably  as  fiction. 

At  the  same  time  we  wondered  rather  sheepishly 
at  the  phenomenon,  and  were  somewhat  ill  at  ease. 
Here  was  our  erstwhile  incompetent  emerging  from 
the  chrysalis  of  his  mediocrity  and  taking  with 
scarcely  an  effort  the  centre  of  the  stage.  We  others 
were  for  the  time  being  mere  lay  figures  in  his 
drama,  subordinated  to  the  moment,  and  feeling,  if 
the  truth  must  out,  supremely  unimportant  and  in- 
significant. Indeed,  as  the  situation  developed,  it 
seemed  rather  incredible  that  we  should  have  ever 
ventured  to  criticise  this  prince  of  romancers,  to 
judge  and  condemn  by  our  narrow  views  and 
straitened  standards  so  evident  a  genius. 

Even  after  it  was  all  over,  the  last  song  sung,  the 

Frazer  acted  as  barber  for  the  rest  of  the  outfit 

Sunday  mornings  were  devoted  to  a  general  cleaning  up 


last  "good  night"  said,  as  we  walked  campward  up 
the  creek,  we  could  not  quite  adjust  ourselves  to  the 
situation.  We  looked  curiously,  now  and  again,  at 
Horace.  He  strode  along  vigorously,  proudly,  head 
in  air,  rapt  and  still  intoxicated  by  the  luxury  of 
self  expression  and  the  incense  of  unstinted  admira- 

Each  one  of  us  was  silent,  busy  with  his  own 
thoughts.  Horace's  mood  remained  undesecrated, 
his  triumph  and  his  happiness  complete,  without  a 

The  next  day,  Sunday,  Horace  was  still  under  the 
spell  of  the  events  of  the  preceding  night.  His  ela- 
tion had  not  perceptibly  ebbed.  He  was  in  far  bet- 
ter conceit  with  himself  than  we  had  been  used  to 
seeing  him  of  late.  We  wondered  whether  it  might 
not  become  necessary  to  tone  him  down  a  little  be- 
fore he  could  be  trusted  to  work  to  advantage.  But 
as  it  happened,  fate  spared  us  that  task. 

Most  of  us  had  washing  to  do,  that  morning,  so 
we  walked  down  the  creek  about  a  half  mile  to  where 
we  might  precede  the  laundry  work  by  a  swim.  The 
water  was  ice-cold  and  no  one  stayed  in  very  long. 
Horace,  a  good  swimmer,  was  the  last  to  acknowl- 
edge its  chilling  effect.  He  even  ventured  on  some 
mild  "horsing,"  as  one  by  one  we  others,  blue  lipped 
and  shaking,  sought  the  bank  and  hastily  donned  our 

We  were  nearly  dressed  and  Horace,  for  our  de- 
lectation, was  demonstrating  the  "crawl"  in  about 


two  feet  of  water,  when  the  first  of  six  horses,  walk- 
ing single  file,  turned  the  bend  a  scant  forty  feet 
below  us  and  advanced  leisurely  up  the  trail.  Upon 
the  horses,  riding  astride,  were  the  six  girls  from 
Silver  City,  the  late  guests  of  the  Diamond  Bar. 
Snapping  twigs  and  the  soft  "thud,  thud"  of  hoofs 
first  drew  our  attention  to  the  approaching  caval- 

One  glance  was  enough  for  us!  We  glided,  si- 
lent as  wraiths,  into  the  timber.  At  the  same  mo- 
ment Horace,  emerging  from  the  water,  beheld  the 

"Back!"  he  cried  hoarsely,  his  anguish  manifest 
in  an  unnatural  intonation. 

"Back!    Don't  you  see  I'm  here?" 

Nobody  ever  knew  what  possessed  the  unhappy 
youth  to  propound  that  particular  query.  It  was 
superfluous,  to  say  the  least.  Probably  for  that  rea- 
son it  remained  unanswered  and  obtrusive — as  if 
suspended  in  the  chilly  air. 

Looking  neither  to  the  right  nor  to  the  left  the 
fair  campers  passed  sedately  by  with  no  sign  of 
recognising  Horace's  existence.  Only,  as  they  rode 
slowly  out  of  sight,  the  pretty  girl  whom  Horace 
had  especially  favoured  crushed  a  handkerchief  to 
her  face  and  I  could  swear  I  saw  her  shoulders  shake 

Poor  Wetherby,  after  his  first  awful  outburst,  re- 
lapsed into  a  complete  and  desperate  silence.  By  a 
timely  contortion  he  had  lowered  himself  in  the  shal- 


low  stream  so  that  only  his  head  and  neck  were 
above  water.  And  from  the  chattering  of  his  teeth 
and  the  bluish  cast  that  crept  over  his  countenance 
we  surmised  that  his  enforced  submergence  was  any- 
thing but  pleasant. 

It  is  safe  to  say,  however,  that  the  discomfort  of 
body  was  nothing  to  the  agony  of  mind  that  our 
squire  of  dames  endured.  The  ignominy  he  felt, 
following  so  closely  upon  last  night's  triumph,  was 
bitter.  Indeed,  so  evident  was  Horace's  distress 
that  we  forbore  to  dwell  upon  the  incident  at  any 
great  length.  We  felt — and  as  time  proved,  rightly 
— that  we  would  have  no  further  fault  to  find  with 
Horace  on  the  score  of  arrogance  or  militant  self- 
esteem  ! 


IN  two  more  camps  we  had  accounted  for  everything 
along  Black  Eiver.  There  now  remained  only  the 
block  of  country  between  us  and  the  North  Fork 
of  the  Mimbres  and  a  strip  beyond  extending  to  the 
tier  of  sections  worked  north  from  McKnight. 

The  continental  divide,  by  the  way,  runs  through 
here  between  the  watersheds  of  the  Mimbres  and  the 
Gila,  into  which  Black  Eiver  flows.  The  Mimbres 
drains  to  the  east  on  the  Atlantic  slope  of  the  di- 
vide, and  though  the  stream  vanishes  completely  in 
the  desert  near  Deming  its  indicated  course  is  toward 
the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  The  Gila  drains  the  Pacific 
slope  of  this  portion  of  the  range,  and  eventually, 
through  a  junction  with  the  Colorado,  its  waters  find 
their  devious  way  into  the  Gulf  of  California. 

The  country  between  Black  Canyon  and  the  North 
Fork  was  too  great  to  cover  by  end  to  end  runs  from 
each  canyon,  the  method  we  had  been  working  on, 
so  we  camped  on  the  divide  for  a  time  at  a  deserted 
ranch  called  the  Meson  Place,  where  there  was  an 
excellent  spring. 

From  this  location  we  were  able  to  work  the  more 
inaccessible  parts  of  our  unfinished  block  before 



dropping  to  the  bed  of  the  North  Fork  for  the  final 
spurt.  We  were  visited  here  by  Supervisor  Johns 
from  Silver  City,  and  Pooler,  an  Assistant  District 
Forester  from  Albuquerque,  on  a  tour  of  inspection. 
Eandolph,  the  ranger  from  Fierro,  accompanied 
them  and  stayed  with  us  until  we  went  in,  but  the 
others  only  stopped  over  night. 

At  "  Meson  's"  we  ran  across  Hank  Hotchkiss,  a 
former  soldier  and  scout  now  well-known  locally  as 
hunter  and  trapper. 

When  we  visited  his  camp  for  the  first  time  we 
found  the  old  woodsman  engaged  in  the  novel  pas- 
time of  teasing  a  huge  Mexican  eagle  that  had  just 
been  caught,  oddly  enough,  in  one  of  his  smaller 
traps.  The  bird  was  tied  to  a  tree  with  a  rope 
about  five  yards  long,  which  gave  it  a  chance  to  ex- 
ercise after  a  fashion. 

We  asked  the  trapper  if  he  intended  to  tame  his 
pet,  and  he  laughed. 

"It  can't  be  did,  not  to  my  knowledge,  leastways/7 
he  stated.  "I  kep'  one  once  for  five  years  an'  he'd 
fight  me  just  as  quick  when  I  let  him  go  as  when 
I  caught  him.  They's  queer  critters,  that's  a  fact. 
Did  you  ever  cut  one  of  'em  up?  No  I  Well,  they 
got  an  eye  nigh  as  big  as  the  rest  of  their  head  put 
together,  an'  as  for  brains,  they  hain't  got  more'n 
enough  to  fill  a  22  cartridge.  I  don't  believe  they 
got  sense  for  anything  but  to  fight.  That's  all  they 
is  to  them!" 

He  tapped  the  captive  eagle  on  the  head  as  he 


spoke,  and  the  bird,  glaring  angrily,  struck  at  him 
with  its  sharp  beak  and  seized  the  edge  of  his  shoe 
in  its  great  talon  with  such  strength  that  the  claw 
sank  through  the  leather  and  could  with  difficulty 
be  dislodged. 

"Looky  there  now,"  said  Hank;  "he  almost  got 
me  that  time.  Jest  like  he  took  a-holt  of  Spot,  my 
hound,  the  other  day." 

We  begged  for  details. 

"  'Twas  pretty  cute,"  chuckled  Hank.  "Hen- 
nery— th'  eagle — was  eatin'  on  a  rabbit  I  throwed 
him,  an'  he  seen  Spot  was  a  watchin'  him  kind-a 
close.  So  he  jest  walked  away  a  few  steps  an'  per- 
tended  he  was  through  with  th'  meat.  Spot  hops 
in  an'  begin  eatin'  an'  Hennery  he  give  a  jump  an' 
lit  plumb  on  the  middle  of  Spot's  back.  I  thought 
the  dawg  was  a  goin'  t'  turn  hisself  inside  out  a' 
tryin'  to  git  him  off.  When  Hennery  finally  come 
loose  he  took  along  a  piece  of  meat  about  so  big  right 
out  of  Spot's  back.  Since  then  they  hain't  been 
th'  best  of  friends,  but  Spot  alms  gives  way  to  th' 

Besides  the  eagle,  Hank  had  caught  during  the 
summer  three  mountain  lions,  a  lobo  wolf,  two  brown 
bears  a  black  bear  and  a  huge  silver  tip  grizzly.  He 
showed  us  the  pelts,  which  were  in  poor  condition 
and  worth  but  little.  The  animals  had  been  either 
in  the  process  of  shedding  or  their  hair,  just  coming 
in,  was  short  and  of  inferior  quality. 

The  trapper  would  have  fared  ill  from  a  financial 


standpoint  were  it  not  for  the  bounty  which  cattle- 
men offered,  usually  from  ten  to  twenty  dollars  for 
an  adult  lion,  wolf  or  bear,  which  are  all  great  cattle 

"I've  shore  had  hard  luck,"  he  complained,  "I'd 
orter  had  oodles  of  skunks,  foxes  an'  bob  cats  in  my 
little  traps,  but  by  gum,  I  been  a  catchin'  my  dawgs 
in  'em  more'n  anathin'  else.  That  there  ornery 
Spot  would  travel  twenty  miles  to  git  into  a  trap. 
Every  time  I  go  out  I  find  him  a  howlin'  in  one  of 
'em  sum'mers! 

"The  other  night  he  went  out  huntin'  an'  never 
showed  up  in  the  mornin'.  I  knowed  right  away 
what  had  happened.  Soon's  I  got  to  my  first  traps, 
down  on  Squaw  Canyon,  thar  was  Spot,  caught  by 
the  foot  and  howlin'  reel  mournful.  I  took  him  out 
an'  beat  him  t'well  I  was  plumb  wore  out,  an'  he 
went  off  toward  th'  house  lickity split.  An'  by  gum, 
afore  I  made  the  round  of  my  traps  I  found  the  pore 
fool  caught  in  another  trap.  I  give  it  up  after  that. 
If  that  there's  his  idee  of  pleasure  I  figger  tain't 
goin'  to  do  no  good  to  try  an'  break  him  of  it.  Hit 
remines  me  of  th'  time  I  caught  an  Injun.  D'ye 
ever  hear  tell  o'  that?  No !  Well,  I  never  seen  him 
myself,  but  I  hearn  tell  of  it  afterwards.  He  shore 
got  in  th'  trap  an'  I  was  plumb  pleased  he  got  away 
'fore  I  found  him,  becuz  I  could  tell  by  th'  way  he'd 
tore  things  aroun'  there  he'd  a-been  mighty  hard  t' 
turn  loose." 

Continuing  the  score  of  his  misfortunes,  Hotch- 


kiss  averred  that  two  bears  had  just  lately  pulled 
loose  from  his  big  Number  4  trap  by  the  rather  shock- 
ing expedient  of  twisting  the  prisoned  foot  off. 
Some  of  us  were  inclined  to  doubt  the  truth  of  this 
tale,  but  before  we  moved  camp  we  had  ocular  proof 
of  its  verity. 

A  trapper,  if  he  can,  visits  his  traps  each  morn- 
ing. The  chances  a  captured  "varmint"  has  of  es- 
caping are  thereby  greatly  lessened.  But  Hotch- 
kiss  worked  alone  and  found  it  impossible  to  make 
the  round  every  day.  So  it  happened  that  when  he 
started  on  a  tour  of  inspection  the  following  Sun- 
day it  was  for  the  first  time  in  two  or  three 

He  returned  about  two  in  the  afternoon  very  much 
worked  up,  and  exhibited  a  gruesome  trophy.  It 
was  a  gigantic  bear's  foot,  torn  off  at  the  ankle. 

"Looky  there,"  he  shouted,  "whad-die  tell  you 
all.  I  didn't  git  around  to  my  Number  4  yestiddy  nor 
day  before,  an'  I  done  missed  th'  biggest  grizzly 
you  ever  see.  Here's  what  he  left  in  the  trap  for 
me,  as  a  soovenoor!" 

"Couldn't  you  track  him?"  we  asked,  after  in- 
specting the  "souvenir"  with  considerable  disrelish. 

"Naw,"  replied  Hank,  "I  tried  to,  but  'twarn't 
no  use.  I  see  where  he  dug  ground  up  all  around 
the  trap  twissin'  his  foot  off,  an'  where  he  slid  down 
the  side  of  the  canyon  after  gitten'  away.  But 
where  he  done  run  off  down  th'  creek  I  couldn't  find 
no  sign  nowhar.  He'll  likely  hole  up  some'rs  till 


lie  gits  Healed,  or  light  out  and  leave  the  country 
right  now." 

But  as  subsequent  events  proved  the  wounded 
bear  chose  neither  of  these  alternatives.  Frazer, 
crossing  Little  Eocky  next  day,  some  distance  below 
the  trap,  heard  the  loud  complaint  of  a  grizzly  is- 
suing from  a  small  clump  of  brush,  and,  cautiously 
investigating,  discovered  Hank's  missing  bear.  The 
animal  was  almost  helpless  from  loss  of  blood  and 
it  was  no  trick  at  all  to  put  him  out  of  his  misery 
with  the  Liiger  automatic  that  the  chief  carried. 

To  his  great  astonishment  Frazer  found  upon  ex- 
amination that  the  animal  was  minus  not  one  foot, 
but  two ;  the  wound  on  the  fore  leg  a  recent  injury, 
the  dry  scar  on  the  stump  of  the  hind  leg  indicating 
an  older  hurt. 

Hank  looked  the  carcass  over  carefully  when  we 
went  out  to  skin  it. 

"By  gum,"  he  declared,  "I've  caught  this  here 
bear  twice.  Last  year  I  got  a  hindfoot  jist  the  size 
of  this  here  one  in  one  of  my  traps,  an'  I'm  satisfied 
this  is  the  critter  left  it  there.  Yes,  sir,  he's  done 
tore  off  two  feet  in  them  traps  and  now  we  got  him 
after  all.  Ain't  that  the  outbeatinest  thing  y'  ever 
heerd  tell  on?" 

Frazer  later  bought  the  two  missing  feet  from 
the  trapper,  who  had  kept  them  safe,  and  sent  the 
hide  in  to  be  mounted.  It  never  made  a  very  val- 
uable piece  of  fur,  but  the  chief  would  not  take  sev- 
eral times  its  actual  worth  for  the  rug. 


ON  the  sixth  of  October  we  pitched  our  first  camp 
in  the  North  Fork.  By  the  night  of  the  fifteenth  we 
had  covered  our  season's  assignment.  The  Black 
Eange  was  cruised  and  mapped.  The  summer,  with 
its  pleasures,  and  its  hardships,  was  over,  and  we 
were  free  to  hike  for  town. 

The  last  day  of  cruising  was,  by  a  coincidence,  the 
opening  day  of  the  game  season.  Some  of  us  were 
anxious  to  try  our  luck  on  a  whitetail  buck,  so  for 
this  reason,  and  also  because  the  trip  in  to  Silver 
promised  to  be  an  arduous  one,  Frazer  decided  to 
stay  over  until  the  seventeenth.  Those  who  would 
might  rest,  the  others  could  hunt. 

Wallace,  Conway,  Wetherby,  Jackson,  and  my- 
self spent  the  holiday  looking  for  deer,  but  with  the 
exception  of  the  ranger  we  might  just  as  well  have 
stayed  in  camp.  Jackson  left  with  his  25.20  carbine 
directly  after  breakfast  and  reappeared  about  nine 
o  'clock  with  a  fair  sized  buck  slung  over  his  shoulder. 
He  and  Brown  skinned  and  dressed  the  deer  and  for 
supper  we  had  venison  steak,  the  first  I  had  ever 
tasted.  The  meat  was  exceedingly  tough,  due 
mainly,  no  doubt,  to  the  fact  that  it  was  cooked  so 
soon  after  the  death  of  the  animal.  As  a  matter  of 



fact,  though,  most  of  the  natives,  who  can  get  both, 
prefer  good  beef  to  venison  any  time. 

We  had  a  visitor  that  night.  It  was  just  dusk, 
and  Bert  was  putting  the  finishing  touches  on  the 
steak.  We  were  startled  on  a  sudden  by  a  shrill 
falsetto  yell.  It  sounded  like  a  woman  in  distress. 
We  listened  breathless  for  a  moment  and  the  sound 
was  repeated,  near  at  hand.  Then  out  of  the  woods 
along  the  trail  there  trotted  a  raw-boned  white  horse 
with  a  very  small  rider  in  sombrero  and  leather 
chaps,  leading  a  pack  mule  by  a  tie  rope.  He  waved 
to  us  as  he  approached  and  Brown  rose  to  his  feet 
with  an  exclamation  of  surprise. 

"I'll  be  doggoned  ef  hit  ain't  that  there  crazy  kid 
brother  of  mine,"  he  said;  "what  in  thunder  d'you 
reckon  he's  a-doin',  comin'  out  yere!" 

The  boy  alighted  somewhat  stiffly,  and  proceeded 
to  answer  the  question  himself. 

"I  done  brought  you  all  some  veg 'tables,"  were 
the  first  words  he  spoke,  nodding  to  the  pack  on  the 
mule.  "LeP  Hillsboro  this  mawnin'  at  sun-up  an' 
bin  ridin'  ever  sence." 

"Chuck's  ready!"  yelled  Bert,  at  this  juncture; 
"come  an'  git  it  'fore  I  throw  it  out!" 

Comment  and  inquiry  were  postponed  for  the  time 
being.  We  discovered  later  that  little  Johnny 
Brown,  who  was  just  nine  years  old,  had  travelled 
forty  miles  that  day  alone  over  the  rough  mountain 
trails  on  the  chance  of  striking  our  camp.  His 
father  had  allowed  him  to  take  the  trip  as  a  birth- 


day  gift.  He  wanted  to  go  into  Silver  with  us  and 
see  the  town,  an  ambition  which,  I'm  glad  to  say, 
was  subsequently  realised. 

That  evening  we  sat  around  the  camp  fire  for  the 
last  time.  Mostly  we  sang  and  talked  as  usual,  but 
now  and  again  a  sudden  silence  would  fall  upon  us 
all,  or  a  look  of  wistful  gravity  drop  for  a  moment 
like  a  veil  over  the  features  of  one  or  another  of 
the  men.  One  can  not  leave  six  months  of  his  life 
— full,  vivid  months  like  these — without  a  poignant 
twinge  of  regret.  The  hardships  we  had  undergone, 
the  companions  with  whom  we  had  lived  and  worked 
for  half  a  year  and  whom  we  had  learned  to  care  for 
and  to  trust,  could  not  lightly  be  put  behind  us. 

We  would  soon  be  scattered,  most  of  us  never  to 
meet  again.  The  age-old  ache  of  sadness  at  the 
death  of  the  familiar,  at  the  ruthless  approach  of 
change,  the  wrench  of  readjustment  in  leaving  the 
accustomed  thing  and  making  shift  to  face  the  un- 
known future  gave  us  many  a  sober  thought.  Be- 
neath the  excitement  of  the  impending  release  was 
a  vague  desire  for  continued  captivity.  We  weakly 
longed  at  times  to  keep  on  living  as  we  had  grown 
used  to  living,  enveloped  by  the  web  of  accustomed 
circumstances  which  we  had  at  once  yielded  to  and 

In  one  of  these  pauses  Frazer  began  to  talk. 

"I  want  to  tell  you  fellows, "  he  said  simply,  " be- 
fore we  part,  how  much  I  appreciate  personally  your 
attitude  during  the  past  season.  I've  worked  on  re- 


connaissance  since  the  Forest  Service  came  into  ex- 
istence and  before,  and  I've  never  known  a  more 
difficult  job  than  we  have  just  completed  nor  met 
a  better  spirit  than  you've  put  into  yotar  work. 
We've  run  nearly  a  hundred  and  fifty  miles  of  base- 
line, cruised  more  than  two  hundred  and  fifty 
thousand  acres  of  timber  and  woodland  and  made 
thirty-two  camps,  and  all  in  the  roughest  and  most 
constantly  difficult  cruising  country  I've  ever  come 
across.  Primarily  we  are  working  for  a  living. 
But  in  a  sense  we've  gained  something  even  more 
important  by  this  season's  experience.  We  have 
been  developed  and  changed  by  our  daily  tasks, 
and  the  habit  of  doing  them,  in  spite  of  all  obstacles, 
honestly.  We  have  broadened  our  point  of  view  by 
the  associations  made  here  in  the  woods  and  through 
a  better  understanding  of  one  another.  We  are  dif- 
ferent men  from  those  who  started  out  in  May.  I 
want  you  to  know  that  I  feel  deeply  the  value  of  it 
all  to  myself  and  that  I  am  certain  that  though  we 
separate  now  to  the  four  winds  the  results  of  our 
summer's  experience  will  remain  with  each  of  us 
through  life." 

We  were  rather  surprised  by  this  speech.  Frazer 
was  essentially  undemonstrative,  and  we  knew  that 
he  felt  all  and  more  than  he  had  said.  And  his  talk 
gave  us  a  sort  of  lonesome,  empty  feeling.  When  he 
spoke  of  parting,  it  was  as  if  some  friend  had  died. 
Never  again,  we  thought,  would  there  be  such  days 
for  any  of  us.  Set  we  knew  that  we  were  the  better 


for  them,  as  the  chief  had  said,  and  we  knew  that 
it  was  all  symbolical — that  it  was  life !  There  rang 
in  my  brain  a  fragment  of  crude  verse,  penned  by  a 
former  reconnaissance  man,  that  met  the  mood  well : 

"You're  sorry,"  you  say,  "the  season's  done!" 

"Me  and  you  both,"  I  say,  replying, 

"For  now  the  leaves  are  yellow  and  dying; 

Summer  is  dead,  winter's  begun, 

And  summer 's  chance  companions  parted. 

But  this  is  the  sure  road  each  man  takes ; 

This  is  the  law  that  nature  makes ; 

Why  should  we  then  be  broken-hearted?" 

On  "get-a-way  day"  we  woke  early.  Every  one 
was  excited  and  in  high  spirits,  now  that  the  actual 
move  was  upon  us. 

Before  we  left  camp  we  had  a  grand  bonfire  of 
old  clothes  and  other  articles  whose  usefulness  was 
outworn.  Bert  rescued  a  suit  of  silk  pajamas  which 
some  one  had  kept  closely  hidden  during  the  trip,  and 
draped  them  upon  "Babe,"  the  burro  colt,  of  whom 
he  had  made  a  pet. 

"It's  the  first  time  he's  been  to  town,"  explained 
Bert,  "an'  he'd  oughta  be  dressed  up,  jest  to  show 
'em  he  hain't  ignorant  of  what's  wore  in  the  fast  set 

Babe 's  reluctance  to  don  evening  clothes  was  over- 
come with  difficulty  but,  once  attired,  he  trotted 
proudly  to  the  head  of  the  pack  train  and  kept  his 
suit  on  until  he  reached  the  corral  in  Silver  City. 


We  got  under  way  about  nine-thirty  and  did  not 
stop  walking  for  a  minute,  not  even  for  lunch,  till 
night  found  us  but  twenty  miles  from  Silver  and 
forty  miles  from  our  " place  of  beginning,"  as  sur- 
veyors say. 

We  were  quite  ready  to  make  camp.  Our  trail 
had  been  down  hill  all  morning,  to  where  the  North 
Fork  joined  the  main  stream  of  the  Mimbres,  and 
over  this  fifteen-mile  stretch  the  packers  sent  the 
burros  along  at  a  trot.  We  were  obliged  to  do  be- 
tween four  and  five  miles  an  hour  to  keep  up,  and 
considering  the  character  of  the  trail  and  the  weight 
of  our  cruising  shoes  this  was  by  no  means  a  despi- 
cable feat.  Toward  noon  the  canyon  broadened  and 
the  fertile  valley  of  the  Mimbres,  with  its  ranches 
and  fruit  farms,  lay  unrolled  before  us. 

Eound  we  swung  to  the  south,  into  a  broad,  level 
highway,  the  famous  North  Star  road,  built  by  the 
War  Department  in  early  days,  and  now  most  grate- 
ful to  our  tired  feet.  Down  the  river  by  this  pleas- 
ant winding  way  we  travelled  for  ten  miles  and 
more.  The  pace  was  not  now  so  swift.  The  loaded 
burros  were  beginning  to  feel  the  effects  of  earlier 
efforts  as  well  as  we,  and  to  slacken  speed  accord- 

At  last  we  crossed  the  Mimbres  and  entered 
Shingle  Canyon,  heading  in  a  northwesterly  direc- 
tion. Up  this  incline  we  toiled,  mile  after  uphill 
mile,  till  darkness  compelled  us  to  halt.  We  made 


camp  by  throwing  down  our  beds  beside  the  road. 
After  a  snack  of  bread  and  butter  and  hot  coffee 
we  were  glad  to  crawl  into  our  blankets  and  forget 
our  weariness  in  sudden  sleep. 

Though  we  were  just  about  played  out  that  night 
it  spoke  well  for  our  condition  that  there  was  hardly 
a  limp  or  a  stiffened  muscle  in  camp  next  morning. 
The  remaining  twenty  miles  between  us  and  Silver 
City,  all  on  a  fair  road,  we  disposed  of  easily 

At  just  one  o'clock  we  entered  town  and  swept 
down  Main  Street — bells  ringing,  packers  halloing, 
and  Babe  in  his  gay  attire  stepping  out  in  front  like 
a  tiny  drum  major.  It  was  a  gay  cavalcade,  if  ever 
one  existed.  No  wonder  our  entry  created  a  stir  in 
town,  that  we  were  followed  to  the  Tenderfoot  cor- 
ral, our  destination,  by  the  plaudits  of  the  multitude 
and  a  swarm  of  small  boys  who,  after  the  manner  of 
their  kind,  sprang  suddenly  and  miraculously  from 
nowhere ! 


WHILE  the  burros  were  being  unpacked  and  unsad- 
dled we  went  over  to  the  office  to  report  our  return, 
in  case  Supervisor  Johns  had  not  heard  the  excite- 
ment caused  by  our  entry. 

As  we  entered  the  Supervisor's  sanctum  we  saw 
a  huge  man  of  about  fifty  years,  dressed  rather 
formally  and  imposing  to  a  degree,  seated  comfort- 
ably in  the  largest  chair  in  the  room. 

He  smiled  cordially  as  we  entered. 

" Gentlemen,"  said  Johns,  impressively,  "permit 
me  to  introduce  Mr.  Wetherby." 

We  gasped,  as  Horace,  with  an  astonished  cry  of 
"  Father !"  sprang  forward  and  received  the  paren- 
tal embrace. 

The  gentleman  turned  toward  us.  His  mien  was 
suave  and  dignified.  He  reminded  us  strongly  of 
Horace  at  his  best.  But  in  his  eyes  there  shone  that 
which  revealed  the  difference  between  them — a  look 
of  conscious  power,  of  hard-won  wisdom.  Where 
the  boy  gazed  out  on  life  naively,  and  coloured  it 
with  his  own  imaginings  and  thoughts,  the  shrewd, 
objective  glance  of  the  older  man  penetrated  to  the 



"I  chanced  to  be  in  this  part  of  the  world  yester- 
day," he  said,  in  a  deep  and  resonant  voice,  "and 
hearing  that  you  boys  would  be  coming  in  from  the 
wilds  I  just  thought  I'd  run  down  and  meet  you  all." 

He  paused,  and  that  keen,  searching  eye  swept  us, 
one  after  the  other.  It  was  like  a  suction  cleaner 
applied  to  the  soul. 

He  smiled,  and  went  on:  "I  need  not  say  that 
I  am  more  than  happy  to  meet  my  boy's  friends. 
And  to  have  at  the  same  time  an  opportunity  of 
talking  over  some  matters  in  regard  to  the  Forest 
Service  with  your  Supervisor — Mr.  Johns,  here.  I 
hope  to  detain  him  some  time  longer  on  the  same 
business.  Afterward,  I  want  you  all  to  join  me  in 
a  small  supper  that  has  been  planned  for  this  even- 
ing at  Lin  Foo's,  which  I  am  informed  is  more 
generally  known  as  'The  Chink's.'  What  do  you 

We  accepted,  of  course.  Then  we  scattered,  to 
bathe  and  dress.  Some  of  us,  too,  had  promised 
ourselves  the  luxury  of  a  call  or  so  before  dinner 

At  about  five-thirty  I  cut  short  a  wonderfully  brief 
visit  and  started  for  the  restaurant  where  Mr. 
Wetherby's  affair  was  to  take  place.  As  I  turned 
the  corner  of  Bullard  and  Main  I  ran  full  into 
Horace  and  the  pretty  girl  of  the  Diamond  Bar  ad- 

They  were  walking  quite  close  together,  talking 
cosily  and  confidentially.  My  sudden  appearance 

FINIS  199 

did  not  embarrass  them  in  the  least,  though  I  felt 
somewhat  vaguely  that  it  should. 

"Why,  how  do  you  do?"  exclaimed  the  girl,  cor- 
dially. "Off  to  the  banquet,  I  suppose  1" 

"Yes!  Wetherby's  told  you  the  news,  of  course. 
About  his  father,  I  mean." 

"Bless  you,  I  knew  all  about  it  yesterday!  Mr. 
Wetherby  dined  with  us — he  and  Father  are  old 
friends — and  we  planned  the  feast  for  you  boys  as 
a  sort  of  *  welcome  home.' 

"Afterward  you're  all  to  come  up  to  our  house. 
Some  of  the  girls  are  coming  over  and  we'll  try 
and  amuse  you  for  awhile,  if  you  aren't  too  tired 
out  for  such  frivolity." 

I  expressed  my  individual  pleasure  at  this  ar- 
rangement and  continued  on  my  way  to  the  Chink's, 
feeling  a  little  as  if  I  had  stepped  off  the  back  plat- 
form of  a  swiftly  moving  train.  What  a  busy  little 
town  Silver  was! 

We  enjoyed  the  dinner  immensely,  with  the  pos- 
sible exception  of  Bert.  The  uncompromising  cook 
plainly  appeared  to  suspect  the  genuineness  of  the 
hospitality  of  any  father  of  Horace's.  His  sense  of 
propriety  triumphed,  however,  over  his  uneasiness, 
and  the  affair  passed  off  in  all  respects  pleasantly 
and  harmoniously. 

With  the  coffee  and  cigars  our  host  rose. 

"I  want  to  say  a  few  words,"  he  began,  "before 
you  all  leave  for  the  dance  which  I  understand  is 
planned  in  your  honour. 


"  Your  able  Supervisor, "  here  he  bowed  graciously 
to  Johns,  who  seemed  in  rare  good  humour,  "has 
been  giving  me  much  valuable  material  regarding 
your  forests  in  general,  and  the  Gila  National  Forest 
in  particular.  And  in  consequence  I  have,  I  think 
I  may  say,  a  much  more  comprehensive  grasp  of  the 
subject  than  I  had  before  our  conference. " 

Here  the  speaker  paused,  while  we  all  cheered. 

He  bowed  and  went  on: 

"I  have  learned  much  about  the  Gila,  but  nothing 
which  could  be  termed  derogatory.  It  was  with 
pleasure,  therefore,  that  I  gathered  from  my  son 
to-day  that  he  intends  taking  the  examination  of 
Assistant  Forest  Ranger  next  week,  which  test,  I 
understand,  some  of  you  young  gentlemen  are  also 
to  attempt. 

"I  speak  of  this  now,  among  Horace's  good 
friends,  because  in  the  past,  I  have,  like  all  fathers, 
at  times  felt  some  misgivings  in  regard  to  his  choice 
of  a  career.  And  I  realise  that  to  the  association 
with  you  boys,  his  companions  in  camp  and  cabin — 
to  you  and  to  his  friends  in  Silver  City — is  due  this 
sudden  resolve  on  his  part,  a  resolve  I  have  only 
sympathy  for,  a  resolve  that  will  cause  him,  I  trust, 
to  bear  his  part  worthily  in  a  world  of  men." 

The  speaker  was  visibly  moved.  His  words  held 
the  unmistakable  ring  of  genuine  feeling.  We  felt 
a  little  uncomfortable,  and,  I'm  afraid,  a  little  sorry 
for  him.  Horace  a  ranger !  Did  he  have  it  in  him 
to  make  good?  It  was  hard  to  say.  But  then  we 



FINIS  201 

remembered  his  sudden  change  of  heart,  in  mid- 
season,  and  his  subsequent  vast  improvement  and, 
most  encouraging  of  all,  the  nerve  and  determination 
he  had  shown.  In  the  silent,  bronzed  youth  who  sat 
with  us  to-night  and  the  young  man  who  had  so 
jauntily  descended  from  the  train  six  months  be- 
fore, there  was  a  world  of  difference.  Perhaps, 
after  all  ... 

Something  of  this  line  of  thought  seemed  to  be  in 
his  father's  mind  as  well  as  in  ours. 

"I  know  reconnaissance  is  trying  work,"  he  said; 
" Horace's  letters  home  bear  internal  evidence  of 
the  hardships  you  have  been  through.  But  I  think 
it  has  helped  him,  as  it  doubtless  helped  all  of  you, 
to  a  better  understanding  of  a  man's  duties  and 

"  Before  closing,  I  want  to  read  to  you  some  verses 
which  my  son  sent  home  during  the  latter  part  of 
your  trip,  and  which  I  understand  he  has  not  shown 
to  any  of  you.  I  think  they  deserve  a  hearing  and 
a  judgment  at  your  hands." 

He  smiled  —  alone  in  his  emotion.  So  Wetherby 
had  burst  into  poetry,  without  our  knowledge !  We 
prepared  to  suffer  as  the  Senator  cleared  his  throat 
and  began  to  read : 

' '  They  call  our  work  '  Reconnaissance ' ; 
A  shorter,  uglier  word,  perchance, 
Would  better  serve  the  new  man 's  use 
,To  circulate  his  heartfelt  views, 


When  first  he  strikes  the  higher  hills 
And  suffers  'pedatory'  chills! 

"At  first  each  separate  'forty'  seems 
A  mile  across!     Each  l corner*  gleams 
A  beacon  in  a  world  of  night; 
The  tyro  thinks:    'This  run's  a  fright, 
I'll  never  see  the  camp  again — 
My  kingdom  for  an  aeroplane ! ' 

"His  legs  are  stiff;  his  feet  are  sore, 
He  carries  bruises  by  the  score ; 
Each  day 's  a  crisis  in  his  life, 
An  aeon  of  unending  strife 
And  even  as  at  night  he  dreams, 
The  cook,  with  breakfast  ready,  screams. 

"He  grumbles  at  the  l rotten  chuck/ 
And  figures  that  he's  out  of  luck, 
Nurses  a  grouch  exceeding  glum 
And  wishes  that  he  'd  never  come ; 
Like  Job,  his  last  despairing  cry, 
'I'll  curse  the  Government,  and  die!' 

"But  as  the  season  wears  along, 
He  finds  he's  growing  hard  and  strong, 
The  steepest  peaks  with  glee  attacks, 
And  gaily,  skilfully  he  tracks 
The  elusive  contour  to  its  death 
Nor  pauses  once  to  gasp  for  breath ! 

"His  attitude  is  altered  quite, 
The  work's  a  cinch,  the  world  is  bright, 
He  has  a  glance  for  towering  trees, 
For  rocks  and  streams ;  the  mountain  breeze 

FINIS  203 

To  him  is  musical,  he'd  fain 
A-cruising  all  his  days  remain ! 

"And  when  he's  ordered  back  to  town 
And  on  a  district  settled  down, 
He'll  think:     'This  ranger  job's  all  right, 
You  get  to  sleep  in  sheets  at  night ; 
But  I'd  sure  like  another  chance 
At  working  on  reconnaissance ! '  ' 

It  wasn't  so  bad  as  we  had  expected.  As  we 
clapped  and  shouted  our  approval  our  host  raised 
his  glass  and  said: 

"I  want  to  propose  a  toast,  and,  if  you  will  for- 
give me,  I  will  ask  Horace  to  respond  to  it.  Gen- 
tlemen: The  Forest  Service !" 

There  was  a  dead  silence. 

11  Where  is  Horace  ?"  asked  his  father,  at  last, 
frowning.  "I  don't  see  him!" 

Bert,  from  the  foot  of  the  table,  answered. 

"When  you  begin  talkin'  about  him  that-a-way," 
he  drawled,  "an'  readin'  that  there  pome,  he  gits 
red  in  the  face  an'  makes  a  quick  sneak.  Tole  me  to 
tell  you,  if  you  asked,  that  he  had  to  tel 'phone  a  gal 
about  some  dance  favours  or  sumthin'." 

The  frown  faded  from  the  magnate's  face.  He 
smiled  slowly,  broadly,  winked  one  eye  shrewdly, 
and  bending  forward  over  the  table  whispered  con- 
fidentially to  the  assembly: 

1 '  I  hereby  amend  that  toast !  To  the  Forest  Serv- 
ice and  its  feminine  well-wishers — present  sweet- 


hearts  and  prospective  wives — individually  and  col- 
lectively: Here's  luck!" 

Mr.  Wetherby's  ready  estimate  and  acceptance 
of  the  situation  made  the  hit  of  the  evening. 

And  as  we  laughed  and  cheered  and  touched 
glasses  and  sipped  the  Chink 's  wine,  we  felt  the 
toast  no  empty  form  but  a  true  symbol  of  our 
thoughts  and  feelings.  We  saw  the  Service  and  its 
loyal  friends  in  that  moment  not  as  an  abstract  idea 
or  a  romantic  ideal,  a  thing  to  make  pretty  speeches 
over,  but  as  a  living,  working,  hoping,  striving  body 
filled  with  a  single  spirit,  as  a  whole  of  human  beings 
composed  like  ourselves  of  good  and  of  evil;  as 
thousands  of  companions,  known  and  unknown, 
scattered  throughout  the  land,  north  and  south,  east 
and  west,  whether  officers  or  in  the  ranks,  whether 
young  or  old,  whether  in  district  or  in  camp  or  in  the 
midst  of  towns  and  great  cities  or  like  ourselves 
"a-working  on  Reconnaissance ! " 



Spanish  for  "  good-bye. "  Used  commonly  in  the 
Southwest.  About  the  same  as  "Well,  so  long!"  in 
New  York. 


Webster  calls  it  "the  portion  of  a  graduated  instru- 
ment, as  a  quadrant  or  astrolabe,  carrying  the  sights 
or  telescope,  and  showing  the  degrees  cut  off  on  the 
arc  of  the  instrument. "  Perhaps  the  description  given 
in  the  text  may  prove  as  enlightening  as  this  definition 
to  the  layman. 

Aneroid  Barometer 

"A  barometer  the  action  of  which  depends  on  the 
varying  pressure  of  the  atmosphere  upon  the  elastic  top 
of  a  metallic  box  (shaped  like  a  watch)  from  which  the 
air  has  been  exhausted.  An  index  shows  the  variation 
of  pressure." — Webster.  This  watch-shaped  box,  in- 
stead of  hours,  had  numbers  marked  on  its  face — from 
one  to  twelve  thousand,  by  thousands, — and  spaces  be- 
tween to  indicate  each  hundred  feet  in  the  thousand.  It 
had  one  hand,  which  we  commonly  set  by  screwing  the 
top  of  the  case  around,  at  the  elevation  our  stations 
recorded  when  starting  to  cruise.  As  we  went  up  or 
down  thereafter  this  hand  was  supposed  to  record  the 
difference  in  altitude,  computed  on  the  variation  of 
atmospheric  pressure,  by  moving  around  to  the  proper 
space  on  the  face  of  the  instrument.  I  say  "supposed 
to ' '  because  sometimes  it  didn  't  work  with  the  exactness 
of  a  chronometer.  I  would  like  to  record  my  impres- 



sions  of  aneroids  in  general,  and  the  one  I  carried  in 
particular,  but  space  forbids — as  does  also  the  fear  that 
patient  readers  who  have  worked  their  way  this  far 
might  leave  their  perusal  with  an  unpleasant  impres- 

Annual  Rings 

When  a  tree  trunk  is  sawed  through,  if  you  examine 
the  flat  top  of  the  stump  you  will  see,  starting  with  a 
very  small  ring  at  the  centre,  a  series  of  concentric 
rings  of  varying  width,  some  very  small,  some  larger, 
extending  to  the  outer  bark.  By  counting  these  rings 
one  can  determine  the  age  of  the  tree,  since  each  one 
represents  a  year's  growth  in  the  life  of  the  tree. 
The  smaller  rings  (in  width)  indicate  that  the  year 
was  a  dry  one  and  only  a  thin  layer  was  added  to  the 
trunk  during  the  season.  The  wider  rings  indicate 
that  the  year  in  which  they  grew  was  a  favourable  one 
and  that  the  tree  thrived. 


Spanish  for  "dance."    Pronounced  "bi-ley." 


If  there  is  any  one  who  is  unfamiliar  with  this  common 
woodsman's  and  surveyor's  term  they  should  learn  at 
once  that  it  is  a  spot  made  on  a  tree  trunk  by  slicing 
off  a  piece  of  bark.  Blazes  are  usually  employed  to 
mark  the  course  of  a  road,  trail,  or  line  through  the 
woods.  A  "witness"  blaze,  often  with  data  cut  on 
its  face  with  a  "scribe,"  a  little  tool  with  a  blade  like 
a.  curved  chisel,  is  usually  put  on  one  or  more  trees 
called  witness  trees  near  any  section  corner  or  other 
monument  to  indicate  its  position  and  what  it  stands 

Bronc  or  Broncho 

An  unbroken  animal.  Usually  a  young  animal  not 
past  the  ordinary  age  for  breaking.  When  a  horse  or 


burro  has  lived  wild  till  long  past  this  age,  which  may 
be  from  two  to  four  or  five,  or  has  escaped  to  the  range 
after  being  broken  and  lived  for  a  time  in  a  wild  state, 
he  is  called  an  "outlaw." 


Pronounced  in  New  Mexico  " way-no."  Spanish  for 


The  Mexican  substitute  for  the  flat  car,  the  moving 
van,  wagon  or  wheelbarrow.  A  beast  of  many  bur- 
dens. The  best  known  test  for  self-control  in  the 
Southwest.  To  give  all  the  definitions  of  this  little 
beast  that  one  might  gather  in  the  course  of  a  day's 
ride  through  the  country  where  it  is  found  would  be 
against  public  policy,  so  we  will  refer  the  reader  to 
the  text  of  the  story  for  further  information  on  the 


An  instrument  consisting  of  a  straight  rule  set  off  in 
inches  and  fractions  thereof,  with  two  arms  attached 
to  it  at  right  angles,  one  fixed  at  the  end  of  the  rule, 
the  other  sliding  along  the  rule.  One  of  them  is 
placed  on  either  side  of  the  trunk  of  the  tree,  whose 
diameter  is  thus  shown  on  the  rule.  To  "caliper"  a 
tree  is  to  measure  its  diameter  by  means  of  the  calipers. 
"When  this  diameter  is  found  at  the  height  of  four 
and  a  half  feet  from  the  ground,  called  "breast 
height,"  and  the  height  of  the  whole  tree  is  estimated, 
the  number  of  feet  of  timber  board  measure  that  the 
tree  will  total  when  cut  and  made  into  lumber  can  be 
learned  from  volume  tables  prepared  for  the  purpose. 


The  cardinal  points  of  the  compass  are  the  four 
principal  ones,  East,  West,  North,  and  South. 



"An  instrument  consisting  of  links,  used  by  surveyors 
in  measuring  land." — Webster.  The  chain  commonly 
used  is  Coulter's  chain,  which  has  one  hundred  links 
each  7  9%0o  inches  in  length,  making  the  total  length 
four  rods  or  sixty-six  feet.  Hence,  a  measure  of  that 


The  line  in  which  a  horizontal  plane  intersects  a  por- 
tion of  ground,  or  the  corresponding  line  in  a  map  or 


The  same  thing  as  a  cowboy,  which  the  dictionary  says 
is  * '  one  of  an  adventurous  class  of  herders  and  drovers 
on  the  plains  of  the  Western  United  States."  Only 
for  some  reason  no  puncher  will  answer  to  the  epithet 
" cowboy,"  while  if  you  called  him  a  herder  or  drover 
he  would  undoubtedly  grow  vexed  and  perhaps  "bow 
up."  Cowpuncher  is  much  the  most  respectable  word 
of  the  lot.  And  "punching"  cattle,  it  may  be  added, 
is  a  very  reputable  and  businesslike  business  nowadays, 
whatever  it  may  once  have  been.  Also  the  adventure 
element — in  the  sense  of  romance — is  found  chiefly 
between  the  covers  of  works  of  fiction. 


When  used  to  describe  a  man  who  estimates  the  number 
of  board  feet  in  standing  timber  on  a  given  area,  it 
means  the  members  of  our  reconnaissance  party — 
excepting  the  packers  and  the  base  line  crew.  In  the 
dictionary  a  colloquial  meaning  is  given — "to  cruise  is 
to  wander  hither  and  thither  on  land."  That  suggests 
our  work  by  antithesis,  because  we  did  exactly  the 
opposite,  travelling  always  in  a  straight  line  by  the 
compass  and  only  wandering,  when  we  had  the  time 
to  wander  at  all,  mildly  and  in  our  minds. 



A  bag  of  heavy  canvas,  cylindrical  in  shape  and  vary- 
ing in  size  (fourteen  inches  in  diameter  and  three  feet 
long  being  about  the  average  dimensions) ,  open  at  one 
end,  with  a  draw  string  to  close  it  by.  The  dufflebag  is 
used  extensively  by  campers  and  woodsmen  to  carry 
clothes  and  light  personal  effects.  A  substitute  for  a 
trunk  or  traveller's  handbag  or  suitcase.  Its  advan- 
tage lies  chiefly  in  the  fact  that  it  may  be  packed  more 
easily  and  weighs  less  than  those  articles. 

Float  Rock 

A  term  used  by  miners  and  prospectors  to  describe 
fragments  of  ore  found  on  the  surface  of  the  ground 
away  from  the  vein  outcrop. 


A  section,  or  square  mile  of  land,  contains  six  hundred 
and  forty  acres,  which  in  surveying  and  map  work  is 
divided  into  sixteen  squares  of  forty  acres  each, 
called  "forties"  for  short.  A  sixteenth  part  of  a 
section.  Each  side  of  a  forty  measures  twenty  chains, 
or  thirteen  hundred  and  twenty  feet. 

Forest  Assistant 

An  officer  of  the  Forest  Service  who  has  studied  tech- 
nical forestry,  passed  the  Civil  Service  examination 
for  the  position  and  received  an  appointment  in  the 
Service  under  that  designation.  W^iile  the  Forest 
Assistant  is  theoretically  supposed  to  chiefly  plan  with 
and  advise  the  Supervisor  on  matters  involving  silvi- 
cultural  problems  or  forest  management,  in  actual 
practice  he  generally  undergoes  a  thorough  appren- 
ticeship in  administrative  work,  timber  cruising,  and 
the  various  branches  of  Forest  Service  field  duty. 

Forest  Guard 

The  position  of  Forest  Guard  is  purely  appointive, 
usually  for  a  period  of  three  months.  The  appoint- 


ment  may  be  renewed  by  the  Supervisor  at  his  dis- 
cretion. The  duties  of  a  guard  are  practically  the 
same  as  those  of  a  Ranger,  the  chief  distinction  be- 
tween the  two  positions  lying  in  the  precedence  of 
the  latter  by  virtue  of  its  superior  grade  in  the  Civil 
Service  lists. 

Forest  Ranger 

The  administrative  field  man  of  the  Forest  Service. 
Each  National  Forest  is  administered  from  headquar- 
ters by  a  Forest  Supervisor.  Under  him  are  several 
rangers,  each  living  on  a  Ranger  District  in  quarters 
provided  by  the  Forest  Service  and  responsible  for  the 
conduct  of  Forest  Service  business  in  his  territory. 
But  the  Ranger  like  the  Forest  Assistant  is  liable  to 
assignment  for  a  time  to  some  special  project — such 
as  Reconnaissance,  for  example. 

Forest  Supervisor 

The  man  in  charge  of  a  National  Forest,  and  responsi- 
ble for  its  proper  administration  to  the  District  For- 


Pronounced  "Hee-la,"  the  Spanish  G  having  the  sound 
of  H.  The  name  of  a  river  in  New  Mexico,  and  of  the 
National  Forest,  covering  over  a  million  acres,  whose 
headquarters  are  at  Silver  City.  It  includes  the  Black 
Range  within  its  boundaries. 

Jack.    Jinny 

The  male  and  female,  respectively,  of  the  Burro  species. 

Jacob's  Staff 

A  name  which  has  been  since  the  middle  ages  given 
to  many  forms  of  staff  or  weapon,  especially  a  pil- 
grim's staff.  In  surveying,  the  Jacob's  Staff  is  a 
round,  straight  rod  something  like  a  broom  handle, 
about  four  feet  long,  pointed  and  iron-shod  at  the 
bottom  and  having  a  socket  joint  at  the  top.  When 


stuck  in  the  ground  it  is  used  instead  of  a  tripod  for 
supporting  a  compass.  This  is  the  sense  in  which  the 
term  is  used  in  the  story. 


Boxes  or  canvas  bags  slung  in  pairs  on  a  horse  or  burro, 
one  on  each  side,  fastened  to  the  horns  of  the  pack- 
saddle  by  leather  loops,  and  used,  as  are  panniers,  to 
pack  articles  more  conveniently  than  could  be  done 


Local  name  for  syrup  or  molasses. 


;The  rough  surface  of  a  congealed  lava  stream.  Vol- 
canic rock,  extremely  hard  and  bad  for  the  feet.  This 
rusty  or  dark  coloured  stuff,  that  looks  like  twisted  old 
iron  and  feels  like — nothing  else,  covers  a  good  part 
of  the  surface  of  the  ground  on  the  plains  and  mesas  of 
the  southwest. 


From  the  Spanish  word  for  " table."  A  high  table- 
land or  plateau,  usually  with  steep  sides.  A  forma- 
tion found  everywhere  in  the  Southwest. 

National  Forest 

One  of  one  hundred  and  sixty-three  areas  set  aside 
to  be  administered  under  the  United  States  Forest 
Service  for  the  permanent  benefit  of  the  people. 


In  surveying,  a  short  distance  measured  at  right  angles 
from  a  line  actually  run  to  some  point  or  some  object. 


A  mathematical  instrument,  circular  or  semi-circular 
in  form,  with  the  angles  marked  off  upon  it,  so  that 
the  angle  of  any  direction  may  be  found  by  sighting 
along  a  movable  arm  that  may  be  turned  at  will  about 
the  circle. 


Range  Branding 

Cattle  on  the  Western  ranges  run  practically  wild  and 
are  seldom  caught  or  coralled  except  for  branding  or 
when  sold.  One  of  the  chief  duties  of  the  cowpuncher 
is  to  ride  about  the  range  and  catch  every  calf  which 
he  sees  unbranded.  He  then  burns  in  the  proper 
brand  which  may  be  ascertained  by  examining  the  cow 
with  which  the  calf  runs.  This  is  called  Range  Brand- 
ing, because  the  work  is  carried  out  on  the  range  with- 
out waiting  for  the  general  roundup. 


Preliminary  examination  or  survey.  In  Forestry  it 
includes  the  mapping  of  the  country  worked,  an  esti- 
mate of  the  timber  by  species,  and  descriptive  data 
indicating  the  watershed  system  and  logging  possi- 
bilities of  the  territory  covered. 


The  general  term,  in  Forestry,  for  the  young  growth 
in  a  forest,  including  seedlings,  saplings,  and  poles — 
the  names  for  the  tree  at  various  stages  of  early  de- 
velopment. Upon  the  character  and  quality  of  the 
reproduction  depends,  as  far  as  can  be  foreseen,  the 
nature  of  the  future  forest. 


In  surveying,  one  of  the  portions — of  a  square  mile 
each — into  which  the  public  lands  of  the  United  States 
are  divided.  One  thirty-sixth  part  of  a  township. 
These  sections  are  divided  into  quarter  sections  of  one 
hundred  and  sixty  acres  each,  which  may  be  pre- 
empted under  the  homestead  laws  both  on  and  outside 
of  National  Forests. 

Silvics  or  Silviculture 

The  study  of  trees  and  tree  species,  with  their  growth, 
peculiarities  and  habitat,  as  parts  of  a  forest. 



A  kind  of  soupy  stew  or  stewy  soup,  containing 
meat,  vegetables,  and  the  juices  of  same.  Just  what 
the  ingredients  consist  of  is  beyond  the  knowledge  of 
the  writer.  I  think  it  must  be  a  secret. 


A  stand  of  timber  means  the  trees  standing  on  a  given 
area,  collectively. 


An  interested  onlooker  at  a  poker  game,  who  usually 
gets  himself  included  in  the  orders  for  drinks,  thereby 
maintaining  the  requisite  degree  of  enthusiasm. 


A  sheet  of  heavy  canvas  some  eight  feet  wide  and  four- 
teen or  sixteen  feet  long,  used  as  a  cover  and  outside 
spread  for  the  blankets  which  make  up  the  camp  bed. 


A  gambler  whose  appearance  or  protestations  of  reck- 
lessness are  out  of  all  proportion  to  his  ability  to 
redeem  them  by  actions.  In  the  world  of  betting  the 
phrase  holds  somewhat  the  same  significance  as  does 
the  "five  dollar  millionaire"  of  the  Great  White  Way. 
A  cheap  sport.  A  four-flusher. 


In  surveys  of  the  public  lands  of  the  United  States,  a 
division  of  territory  six  miles  square,  containing  thirty- 
six  sections. 


A  wild  or  vicious  animal  which  should  be  avoided  or 
slain.  Opposed  to  ''critter/'  which  signifies  a  harm- 
less or  domesticated  animal  as  the  cow  or  the  house  cat. 
A  burro  may  fall  in  either  category  according  to  cir- 

Volume  Tables 

Formula  for  determining  at  a  glance  the  number  of 


feet  board  measure  a  tree  whose  diameter  and  height 
is  known  will  yield  when  it  is  felled  in  logs  of  various 

In  camp  horses  or  burros  are  usually  loosed  at  night 
and  the  business  of  looking  them  up  and  bringing 
them  in  in  the  morning  is  called  wrangling.